Feivel's Flying Horses

by Heidi Smith Hyde and Johanna Van Der Sterre

Like many nineteenth-century immigrants to the United States, Feivel arrives alone,... read more

Like many nineteenth-century immigrants to the United States, Feivel arrives alone, with just a few dollars to his name, desperate for a job so he can save to bring his wife and four children to America. A skilled wood carver who made ornate reading desks for Torah scrolls back home, he finds work as a furniture maker, and on a rare day off he and a friend take a trip to Coney Island. Feivel is struck by the craftsmanship of the beautiful horses on the carousel, and after seeing a Help Wanted sign, he gets a job carving the horses for a new Coney Island carousel. Feivel takes his inspiration for the horses from members of his own family, giving each one the name and attributes of a specific individual. Stylized illustrations are filled with details of immigrant life on the Lower East Side in New York City, as well as what turn-of-the-century Coney Island might have looked like. Although the story is based on a fictional character, the author includes a historical note that discusses the role Eastern European Jewish immigrants played in carving carousel horses, translating Old World skills to the New World. (Ages 5–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2011

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