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Children's Fiction Jewish

Kishka for Koppel

by (author) Aubrey Davis

illustrated by Sheldon Cohen

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
Oct 2011
Jewish, Values & Virtues, Humorous Stories
Recommended Age
3 to 5
Recommended Grade
p to k
Recommended Reading age
3 to 5
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2011
    List Price
  • Downloadable audio file

    Publish Date
    May 2012
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2013
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


In this fresh take on a classic tale, a magic meat grinder helps a poor Jewish couple learn a little gratitude after the three wishes it grants them go awry.

A cautionary story that questions today's consumerism and excessiveness, Kishka for Koppel, like the best folktales, can help children and adults alike to look both beyond and within.

About the authors

Before writing and telling stories, Aubrey Davis raised goats, sawed logs and sold antiques. As a young man he traveled across Europe and North Africa, where he discovered traditional Teaching-Stories collected by Afghan writer Idries Shah, of which he said: “These bottomless tales provoked, puzzled and delighted me. They helped me look at things in fresh, new ways.” Aubrey began to tell these stories in nursing homes, schools, festivals, libraries and jails, and on radio and television. For 40 years, he told traditional stories to people of all ages across North America. He also taught oral language for 17 years to primary and special needs students. Aubrey passed away in 2022.

Aubrey Davis' profile page

Sheldon Cohen's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books
  • Commended, PJ Library Selection

Excerpt: Kishka for Koppel (by (author) Aubrey Davis; illustrated by Sheldon Cohen)

Koppel plunked the meat grinder down on the table.
"Tell her what you told me," he said.
Yetta rolled her eyes. "Oy vey, he's talking to a meat grinder."
"Tell her!" shouted Koppel.
The meat grinder was silent.
"Does it know any chicken jokes?" Yetta giggled. "It sings 'My Yiddishe Mama' maybe?"

Editorial Reviews

"A heartwarming tale of magic and unbelievable events in the lives of a poor husband and wife, Koppel and Yetta...Aubrey Davis has written a clever, playful story for young children loaded with wondrous surprises, happiness, a bit of heartbreak, a lot of kishka and a great deal of special meaning. Sheldon Cohen’s illustrations are full-bodied, richly coloured and add extra nuance to Davis’ words. Young readers will be delighted with the story."

The Canadian Jewish News

"The naive, folksy cartoon illustrations are expressive and lend a lighthearted air with their varying perspectives and bright acrylic colors. The storytelling is lively and humorous. The Yiddish speech patterns will amuse readers familiar with that style."

School Library Journal

"The tale is told in rapid-fire dialogue appropriately reminiscent of borscht-belt humor...Cohen's acrylic paintings facing the text add to the humor...A fresh look at an old favorite."

Kirkus Reviews

"A fresh take on [an] old tale...Cohen's folksy acrylic art features oversize eyes and exaggerated facial expressions well suited to Davis' borscht belt–style comedic retelling...Should be popular with storytellers and listeners alike."


[Starred review] "A captivating fresh take on the classic folktale teaching us 'Be careful what you wish for.'...The author's sense of humor gleams throughout, giving a sense of comedy to the events as they transpire...The lovely acrylic illustrations by Sheldon Cohen are folksy, whimsical, and filled with bright colors. They perfectly complement the light tone of the story."

Jewish Book World

"Based on the popular three-wishes motif, this version has its own unique vitality and flavour. The old-time Jewish humour and vocabulary as well as the fast-paced sassy dialogue all add an appealing piquancy...The meat grinder is portrayed with its own personality, and the characters of Koppel and Yetta are realistically lovable. With their human foibles and frailties, they demonstrate that true happiness does not lie in material wealth, a salutary lesson for all. Sheldon Cohen, award-winning animator and illustrator, has created rich, colourful acrylic artwork full of wry observation. Subtle details, such as hilarious facial expressions, demonstrate the many fluctuations of mood, and the artful whimsy is in perfect harmony with the drollery of the text. This story, adapted from a 2007 movie, is another great example of Aubrey Davis's ability to give an old tale an ethnic twist. It is an appealing addition for all collections and an irresistible read aloud for story time."

Canadian Children's Book News

"Davis's skill as an animated storyteller and performer shines through as does his sense of humour in the retelling...The story moves forward with delightful dialogue between Yetta and Koppel. The occasional colourful bold print of text adds to the rollicking nature of the tale. Bright cartoon-like illustrations suit the nature of the story...The energetic folk art displayed here will become another successful addition to Sheldon Cohen's impressive career in the illustration, animation and painting of children's stories. This well recognized and multi award-winning duo of Aubrey Davis and Sheldon Cohen have created magic with a captivating and whimsical folktale, one that teaches readers to 'be careful what you wish for!' Highly Recommended."

CM Magazine

"Rendered in acrylic paints, Cohen's humorous illustrations, depicting characters with exaggerated expressions, add much to the story's humor."

Library Media Connection

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