NOAM MECHAPES ZICHRONOT [Hebrew]
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Written by: Mem Fox|
Illustrated by: Julie Vivas
Translated by: Shari Dash Greenspan
Noam is a small boy who lives next door to an old people's home. He likes all the people who live there, but his favorite person of all is Miss Hannah Esther Carmeli Cooper, because she has four names just as he does. So when Noam discovers that Miss Hannah has lost her memory, it is only natural that he should set off to help her find it.
Hardcover, 32 pages
ISBN 965-7108-43-8 Danacode: 563-3
Publication: July 2002
Reviews of English edition of Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge:
After young Wilfrid overhears his parents discussing Miss Nancy's memory loss, he asks all his friends in the old people's home next door, "What's a memory?" Each has a different answer. For one it is something warm; for another something that makes you sad; and for still another, something that makes you laugh. Hoping to help Miss Nancy, Wilfrid gathers a basketful of objects which seem to embody these definitions. As Miss Nancy's old fingers gently handle the collection, each item does indeed bring back happy memories of her girlhood. The brief text blends the physical feel of Wilfrid's treasures and the wistful nostalgia of the associations they bring to Miss Nancy.
The Horn Book
The illustrations' splashy, slightly hazy watercolors in rosy pastels contrast the boy's fidgety energy with his friends' slow, careful movements and capture the story's warmth and sentiment.
School Library Journal
Adults will likely turn the last page with a pang, then will read again this beautiful, gentle story about aging...whether a child is listening or not.
Los Angeles Times Book Review
Wilfrid lives next to an old folks home, and he likes to go there to visit Miss Nancy, because she has four names just like he does. When he discovers that Miss Nancy has lost her memory, Wilfrid collects some of his favorite possessions to help her remember again. This touching story about the love a young boy has for an elderly woman is very moving.
Praise for Noam Mechapes Zichronot:
When I’m reading a book, I forget the whole world. ...you know that I really love to read, and I want to recommend a book to you that I especially enjoyed. But before that, I want to tell you...a wise writer once said that ‘what we are living today will become our memories in the future’. But there are some people who in their old age actually have trouble remembering. Perhaps you know someone like that...Grandma and Grandpa maybe? One grandmother like that is Grandma Chana Esther Carmeli Cooper. Grandma lives in an old age home right next-door to Noam Gidon Malachi Farkash – long names – and Noam Gidon is the hero of the story. I’ll read you part of the book.
What memories did he collect? You’ll have to read it on your own. I really loved this book because it has amazing pictures, the characters are funny, and it is also original, because how many books do you know about old people in old age homes?
You should really read this book.
on her Children’s Television Program “BaCheder Shel Chani”
Urim Publications has entered the area of Hebrew publications for children with an excellent translation of a delightful Australian book entitled Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge (written by Mem Fox, published by Scholastic Australia). The story focuses on a boy named Noam and his relationship to the residents of a neighboring home for the aged. Noam learns that his best friend in the home has lost her memory. He consults with other residents to discover what memory is, and then gathers a number of special objects designed to help his friend find her memory. It is a tender story that demonstrates the symbiotic nature of multi-generational relationships.
The Hebrew translation of the story is very well done. Although some of the vocabulary may be difficult for students in the Diaspora, second phase elementary school students should be able to handle the book with the help of the teacher. The repetition of words, the interest level of the story, the values portrayed, and the lovely illustrations make this book useful for enrichment or for instructional purposes in the appropriate setting. Noam Mechapes Zichronot is a book that will enhance the pedagogical library and/or the Diaspora Jewish day school library collection.
Noam Gidon Malachi Farkash, who lives next door to an old people's home, and befriends its inhabitants, finds a fresh and childlike way to restore memory to one of the seniors.
You will meet Noam in this wonderful book… How does Noam help restore Mrs Chana’s memory? You will discover the answer in this fantastic book. The colorful illustrations…are beautiful. A thought-provoking book for all ages.
...an esthetic pleasure and a lovely story. It is definitely recommended for kindergarten libraries and we will add it to our list of recommended books.
Director of Preschool Education
Israel Ministry of Education
In 2001 it was Harriet who drove her mother wild, when everything she touched either spilled or fell [in the story Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild by Mem Fox]. To our great joy, publishers understand the pleasure we receive each time a book of Mem Fox’s is translated, and this time Urim Publications takes the initiative, translating for us Fox’s book Noam MeChapes Zichronot (Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge), originally published in 1984.
Noam, which is just one of his four names, lives with his family near an old folks’ home. He hears that Miss Chana Esther Carmeli Cooper, his favorite old person, has lost her memory. To return this precious lost item to its owner, Noam sets out to discover just what memory is. The answers he receives from the other old folks are beautiful and varied. Noam transforms their responses into objects that are precious to him and brings the items to Miss Chana in the old folks’ home. Fox’s book, with its beautiful illustrations, is poetic and gentle with an emphasis on human warmth. When the story was read to five- and six-year olds in a pre-school, it prompted a spontaneous and touching discussion on aging, respect and the importance of personal interaction between people of all ages.
This is a wonderful book, which tells of Noam Gidon Malachi Farkash (yes, that is the name of the small boy) who lives near an old age home and even knows all of the residents. But his favorite is Miss Chana Esther Carmeli Cooper, who is 96 years old (she should live to 120). Why is she his favorite, you ask? For the answer, you’ll have to read this lovely story, which also contains a beautiful message.
The message of this book transcends all cultural barriers. It is a tale of friendship between two people, despite the 90-year difference in their ages.… The excellent translation of this book into…Hebrew delights the ear, while the watercolor illustrations are superb.
So many mediocre, bad and terrible books are produced for toddlers and children that when you come across a wonderful book like Noam Mechapes Zichronot, your heart truly swells.
[Noam Mechapes Zichronot] is an amazingly written and illustrated book, which tells of Noam and his neighbors who are residents of an old age home. This book, as opposed to books in which children befriend clothing or dogs or food, purposely chooses the least popular type of friends in Western society – the old people. It also deals with one of the most painful topics connected with aging, that of memory loss.…
...The rapport between Noam and his friends is created as the pages are turned… the amazing illustrations…succeed in imbuing detail and humor into each of the characters, and in creating an enchanting and convincing intimacy between Noam and his friends. The older adults among us will identify here with the pure joy that an innocent child can suffuse into the world of aging.
[Noam Mechapes Zichronot]...values wisdom and the importance of tradition..., [has] a warm blend of nostalgia, feelings and an understanding of the essential value of memory...[and]gives a different perspective to that which we call “elderly” and that which we call “child.”
When I read Noam on my radio program “Pajama Stories”...the young listeners at home loved the story, related to it and wanted to hear it again.…The illustrations are enchanting.… A child who does not yet read shares the same warm, good feeling without reading the text – a rarity here in Israel.
Regarding the translation into Hebrew...when I read this book to myself, I could hear a deep- and gentle-voiced English narrator reading this story with great love along with me. A pure pleasure!
Pajama Stories, Kol Yisrael Radio
...Urim Publications deserves our thanks for translating this book... for children - actually for all of us. Noam Mechapes Zichronot...is accompanied by exemplary illustrations by Julie Vivas.
...Noam lives next door to an old age home and - look how beautiful and courageous this idea is – the old folks are his friends. Here, spread before the reader's eyes, is an enchanting series of pictures of old men and women, and Noam has a different connection with each and every one of them. But most of all, the youngster loves Chana and he tells her all his secrets. Then...he hears from his parents that poor Chana has lost her memory. And although Chana is already 96 years old, Noam the curious child .... sets out to discover just what memory is... But each of the residents of the old age home has a different answer, which of course fits his or her private meaningful memory.…
Slowly Noam gathers enough parts to create [an understanding of] human memory. But before he can visit Chana, he must translate these abstract definitions into things that he can touch, smell, taste and play with. So following the wise instructions he has received, Noam looks for objects that connect with his own funny, sad and precious memories. When he brings these things to the old woman, a miracle occurs: not only does Miss Chana remember, she also immediately finds in the boy’s memories her very own personal memories, and this time she is the one who tells them to Noam, even remembering the secrets they shared.
This is an amazing story because [it reminds us that], despite our differences, our core is the same. And also, that a small child's doll is enough to awaken in a senile old woman the memory of her own doll. Aside from this, Noam clearly learns what memory is and how it is inextricably connected to memories. Fox says that in this way, “Miss Nancy’s memory had been found again by a small boy, who wasn’t very old either.” And the melting reader concludes in his/her heart that perhaps Miss Chana was not truly old either. Have I already mentioned that this is a book about love and rare friendship? Well, it is. An unforgettable story.
I came across a fascinating children's book that has been translated into Hebrew... To my mind, it is very appropriate for the readers of the admirable journal of the Alzheimer's Assocation of Israel...
This is an enchanting children's book about an old lady who has lost her memory and a boy who lives near her Old Age Home and tries to help her find it. It is a book that reduces the fear and ugliness of dementia, describing in children's terms that it is in fact only a stage of life, and not necessarily a difficult one.
...Noam, aged 6 or 7, innocent and naughty, and Mrs. Cooper, aged 96, found much in common and were in fact friends. And when a friend loses something, according to the rules of the game, his friend has to help him, right? So when Noam chanced to hear his parents talking about "poor old Mrs. Chana who has lost her memory" he set out on a crusade to find it for her. First he asked everybody "what is memory?" The replies were philosophical and poetic but nevertheless advanced our hero in his search.
...He collected a variety of his valuable possessions and his memories, and presented them to his friend the old lady as a gift. And look how wonderful! Every object had its story and every object its memory. In this manner, Mrs. Cooper began to put back into her memory all kinds of people and bittersweet events from the distant and recent past.
The charm of the book is not only in the delightful tale told in the language of an innocent child, but also in the enchanging pictures that describe better than a thousand words the situations and characters in the Old Age Home.
As opposed to this, we see the mischievous child who is not quiet for a single moment. He swings on the washing lines, builds towers from the old lady's lump sugar, or sits upside down in the armchair and even pulls at an old man's belt, all in complete contrast to the occupants of the Old Age Home.
The author, Mem Fox, evidently understands very well the world of dementia and also the world of a small boy. The illustrations are great - drawn by Julie Vivas. The book ...is a feast for the eyes, not only for children.
Leah Abramowitz, Director, Melabev Community Clubs for Elder Care, Shaarei Tzedek
Alzheimer's Association of Israel Journal
...excellent Hebrew translation of an enchanting picture book that touches the hearts of children and adults alike...Noam’s friendships with the varied personalities living in the old-age home next door, and his original way of helping Gveret Chana reclaim her memory, set a sensitive example for children... The delightful, whimsical illustrations, of course, do not have to be translated. The language of pictures, as with the language of friendship between small children and old people, is the same no matter what part of the world you live in. “Noam” is the kind of book that can be read aloud to children of about three to six, and read alone by children of any age. It has the unique quality of a picture book that is enjoyed and appreciated by adults as much as by children.
Not often, and perhaps not often enough, do children’s books relate to the generation of older grandparents. This story gives them a place of honor. They do not look young in the illustrations, but they have great charm and especially character. (Who says that all old people in illustrations must have beards and glasses?) Together they help young Noam, the hero of the story, figure out what “memory” is.
The book is written with great charm and care. It has rhythm and is pleasing to the eye and the ear. Noam finds memories and the readers, yes, yes, even the adults, are treated to touching and heart-warming moments so rare in Children’s literature.
A Hebrew translation of a book published in 1984 in Australia and entitled Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge. It is an enchanting story of a friendship between a little boy and a very old woman, illustrated with great charm. Lessons on respecting others, the aging process and memory are imparted in a manner that is both gentle and poetic. For reading aloud to preschoolers and for independent reading by older Hebrew readers.
The New Jewish ValuesFinder (of the Association of Jewish Libraries)
This title, which is a faithful to the original but completely appropriate to the Hebrew language and style, is an excellent example of a book that can work in two cultures. The basic idea of a youngster befriending an oldster who is suffering from memory loss is both touching and funny at the same time. Noam, whose full name is Noam Gideon Malachi Farkas, is very pleased to be able to help Hannah Esther Carmieli Cooper because she too has exactly four names - the same as he has. He brings joy to the lives of the residents of the Beit Avot next door to his home and he in turn learns many lessons from them. I tested this book out on my classes in grades 2 and 3 at Yeshiva Har Torah and also with my third grade grandson and it was uniformly well received. Many of them were able to read the text themselves.
Such a book is a wonderful way to increase children’s exposure to beautiful, idiomatic, modern Hebrew. It is an essential part of any day school program. Would that there were dozens more such elegant picture books that our Diaspora students could read and enjoy in Hebrew!
Marion M. Stein
Jewish Book World
Mem Fox is one of the outstanding children’s authors of our generation. Her
book, Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge, was originally published in 1984 in
Australia, and has been extremely successful with pre-school and primary children ever since. We are indeed fortunate that Urim has chosen to publish this very lovely Hebrew language translation.
Noam Gidon Malachi Farkash, a small boy, lives next door to a senior citizen residence (Beit Avot) and knows each and every resident, along with their interests and hobbies. He is particularly fond of Chana Esther Carmeli Cooper, who has four names just as he does, and is comfortable sharing all his secrets with her. A conversation overheard between Noam’s parents about Geveret Chana leads him on a long search; he hears his father saying that Geveret Chana has lost her memory. Noam is curious as to the meaning of memory, and embarks on a long trip to identify both the meaning of memory and memory loss. He asks everyone he knows to explain their idea of memory. This is naturally for the purpose of helping his dear friend find her memory.
This enchanting story of a warm friendship between two people separated by
90 years of age is told in language that children can relate to, and makes memory loss a natural part of aging. The lessons on respect for others, the aging process, and memory that can be learned by children are outstanding; the book’s strength is that these truths are introduced in a manner that is both gentle and poetic. The striking illustrations, done in watercolor, complement the text beautifully. They are full of warmth and humor. All the names of the characters in the book have been changed to make them recognizable to children in Israel. For reading aloud to preschool children and for independent reading by older Hebrew readers.
What a kick to read Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge in Hebrew! Young Noam lives next to an old folks home. When his parents mention that one of the residents has lost his memory, he sets out to find it. Use this special title to discuss respect for elders, kindness, and the priceless value of memories. (ages 5+)
Jewish Family Times