ZLATEH THE GOAT And Other Stories. Pictures by Maurice Sendak

by Isaac Bashevis Singer

Hardcover, 1994



Local notes

398.2 Sin



HarperCollins (1994), 90 pages


Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer introduces readers to the village of Chelm in this Newbery Honor Book. Chelm is a village of fools. The most famous fools--the oldest and the greatest--are the seven Elders. But there are lesser fools too: a silly irresponsible bridegroom; four sisters who mix up their feed in bed one night; a young man who imagines himself dead. Here are seven magical folktales spun by a master storyteller, that speak of fools, devils, schlemiels, and even heroes--like Zlateh the goat. The New York Times called Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories, "beautiful stories for children, written by a master." The New York Book Review said, "This book is a triumph. If you have no older children on your list, buy it for yourself." Singer's extraordinary book of folklore is illustrated by Maurice Sendak, who won a Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are. Supports the Common Core State Standards… (more)

Original publication date


Physical description

90 p.; 8.7 inches



User reviews

LibraryThing member 1morechapter
This is a wonderful book for children. Not only was it a Newbery Honor Book, it was also written by Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer and illustrated by the wonderful Maurice Sendak. With stories of fools, mixed-up feet, devils, and pet goats, this book can be enjoyed by both children and adults.

My favorite was definitely the title story, “Zlateh the Goat.” Zlateh has been good to Aaron’s family, but it is now Hanukkah and the family needs money for basic necessities. Aaron grudgingly leads her to the butcher, only to be caught in a snowstorm. The snow is so bad that no one can even search for the pair. Will Aaron be reunited with his family in time for Hanukkah? Will he even survive the storm?

Recommended for families with children and adults with a Jewish interest.

1966, 90 pp.
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LibraryThing member Periodista
Sweet folk tales with dreidels and demons and a friendly goat. But from the Pale, of course, not the Brothers Grimm. Good for reading to quite young children, not sure if primary school kids could read themselves and understand all the vocabulary.

Silliest, ideal for classroom use: "The Mixed-Up Feet and the Silly Bridegroom."

Mine is a 1966 edition, first borrowed in 1967. Before me, the last borrower was in 2001. And drawings by Sendak!
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LibraryThing member silva_44
Beautiful collection of children's stories by the amazing Isaac Bashevis Singer.
LibraryThing member ElizabethChapman
Oh how I loved this book as a child! I didn't understand it was based on Jewish folk tales, but I must have sensed the depth of tradition that gives heart to each story. The tales are sometimes scary, sometimes hilarious, sometimes silly, and sometimes tender, but all are wise. My only regret? I don't know Yiddish and so can't read them in their original language. The illustrations by Maurice Sendak shine among his very best work. I can't recommend highly enough for children and adults.… (more)
LibraryThing member brandonachey
I really enjoyed this book because it presented the theme of friendship in a way that really brought forth the main element that makes relationships successful, reciprocity. Reuven begins the story by seeing the goat Zlateh as many people in his situation would, as a token that can be bartered with, not as a real living thing. But once they are caught in the blizzard beneath the haystack, Reuven finds that Zlateh has more to offer him than what he initially realized. He found the goat could be a companion as well as a source of food. Reuven eventually sees Zlateh as more than just a goat, he sees her as a sister, and decides, ultimately, not to sell her. I think children can benefit from reading a story like this and discuss how their pets, friends, and family offer them things in return and analyze how they can be better at offering them things as well.… (more)
LibraryThing member Payama
Children's Book Review #2

Singer, Isaac Bashevis. Zlateh the Goat. New York: Harper and Row, 1966

Characters: Aaron, his dad Reuvan, and Zlateh the Goat

Setting: Small village around Hanukkah time

Theme: Family, human and animal relationships, holidays, perseverance

Genre: Folktale

Golden Quote: "Yes, Zlateh's language consisted of only one word, but it meant many things."

Summary: Reuvan the furrier decided that the family must sell the family goat in order to have money for the upcoming holiday of Hanukkah. His son Aaron was tasked with walking Zlateh to the butcher to sell her. Along the journey, Aaron and Zlateh are hit with a terrible snow blizzard and are forced to find nearby shelter in a hill of hay. Once inside, Aaron makes it breathable, and cozy, and sleeps while Zlateh happily eats lots of hay. Eventually, Aaron becomes so hungry that he drinks milk from Zlateh, and they both survive in the shelter for three days. Aaron's family surely believes that he is lost, and are surprised to see him and Zlateh return. Everyone agrees that Zlateh saved Aaron and deserves to live out her days as part of the family.

Audience: Elementary and Middle school

Curriculum: Influence of setting on the plot

Awards: 1967 Newbery Honor

Personal Response: I thought this book was a charming tale, and was written in a way to show love and concern toward animals. I think that middle school students would love this story, and may even find parts of it preposterous, but will connect to the relationship between Aaron and his pet goat. It has a clear message, that while children should obey their parents, their personal experiences are important, and should be respected as well.
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LibraryThing member electrascaife
A fun little book of very short Jewish folktales, all set around Hanukkah. Not much else to say about this one, except that fans of Maurice Sendak will enjoy his illustrations.
LibraryThing member foggidawn
A collection of Yiddish tales, some funny, others quite touching. The title story, the last in the book, was one of the latter, and probably my favorite in this volume. Many are set around Hanukkah, so this would be a perfect read for that time of year. If you have an interest in Eastern European Jewish village tales, or enjoy short story collections in general, this one is actually lovely.… (more)
LibraryThing member RobertaLea
just some fun noodle-head stories.
LibraryThing member engpunk77
One of our "test prep" books had an excerpt from Zlateh, so I thought this may be a good collection of short stories at my students' reading level. Not. I think one needs to be Jewish to understand the value of any of these stories. Zlateh the Goat even ended up being a really lame story. The commentary on the back cover hails the author as one of the last Yiddish storytellers, so I have a feeling that I'd feel differently about them if it were a part of my heritage.… (more)




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