This series is made up of eight classic Israeli children's books. These books have become a common cultural denominator for two and even three generations of Israelis, from the first book in the series, "Come to Me, Nice Butterfly", which was published in 1945 through "Itamar Walks on Walls", which came out in 1986. All of these books are geared toward toddlers who cannot yet read. As parents and grandparents read them to today's toddlers, they may reminisce about their own childhoods, enjoying the same stories they did when they themselves were children. All of these books have most definitely withstood the test of time.
Come to Me, Nice Butterfly
Written by: Fania Bergstein, Illustrated by: Ilse Kantor
Hakibbutz Hameuchad Sifriat Poalim Publishing Group
This book contains eight very short poems of four lines each. The rhyming is such that toddlers can easily remember them by heart. Most of the poems focus on animals that kibbutz children saw regularly, each dealing with a single animal: a butterfly, a chicken, a cow, a doa and a lamb. There are also a car and a tractor... and even one poem dedicated to Mommy.
The Absent-Minded Guy from Kefar Azar
Written and illustrated by: Leah Goldberg
Am Oved Publishers Ltd.
This book was adapted from a story by Russian author Samuil Marshak. It describes a forgetful confused man who shines his shoes with a toothbrush, mixes up times and places and uses greetings that do not correspond to the situation. For example, when someone sneezes, he says "Happy Holiday". This amusing book has continued to hold a place in Western culture for many years.
"Raspberry Juice" is a mysterious animal who is trying to hide his identity. A lion and a giraffe decide to figure out who he is and what secret he holds. When they finally meet, they drink raspberry juice together. This is a wonderful mystery for toddlers, which also describes the meaning of a good friendship.
Ofir happily takes a walk on a hot day, humming to himself "Bim bam bam, tiras cham" (Bim bam bam, hot sweet corn). A group of children join him, assuming that he's headed somewhere where sweet corn awaits. Ofir tells the children that its just a song, and there's no promise of sweet corn. At first they are disappointed, but later on the grandfather of one of the boys actually does give them all corn on the cob.
Five children each receive a different colored balloon as a gift. Each balloon comes to a different end: one is punctured, another is scratched and on and on, until the last balloon simply flies off into the sky.
Itamar enters the pictures hanging on his bedroom wall after gazing at them in the twilight before sleep. In the lion picture he discovers that a lion cub has gone missing. According to his parents, he got on a colorful train three days earlier. Itamar shows the lion and lioness the lost cub in another picture, where he is indeed riding a train. During an imaginative and fascinating journey, Itamar helps return the cub to his parents, aided by a kite belonging to the girl who appears in the third picture. Afterwards he goes back to his bed and sleeps.
There once was a lion who only wanted to eat strawberries, but there were no strawberries in his forest. His mother tried to convince him to eat other things, but he insisted: nothing but strawberries. One day some children came to the forest, carrying strawberries in their bags. They fled when they saw the lion, leaving their bags behind. The lion was glad to have the strawberries, but after eating lots of them, said: yuck! Ever since, he eats whatever his mother serves him but now the children, after returning home, want only... strawberries!
A small silver fish went swimming in the deep sea, where he met a huge baby whale. The whale was crying because he couldn't find his parents. Little Caspion (the silver fish) gathered his family and all the small fish set out in search of the baby whale's mother and fat Ti found them, of course, and ever since little Caspion and the huge whale have been the best of friends. This illustrated story is scary at the start and joyous later on.
Prof. Miri Baruch