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"The Sorcerer's Apprentice": Noah in Wonderland | Israel today

2022-08-13T17:39:58.144Z

Through the death of initiation and rescue, Tamar Hochstetter's "Sorcerer's Apprentice" treats human evil in an unadulterated way • It is a fantasy book layered in contexts with the potential to become a classic



Noah, the hero of Tamar Hochstetter's book, is a helpless boy who works in the service of a powerful sorceress, but she does not allow him to express himself or raise the ranks of sorcery.

In a moment of resourcefulness, he manages to perform a daring sorcerer's act that makes the sorceress tiny.

It remains its original size, but is still much larger than her.

He reluctantly becomes the "responsible adult" - he bargains, pays and gets food.

Symbolically he even gets drunk on beer and discovers that it's hard to be great.

The sorceress, on the other hand, undergoes a change and becomes small and physically light.

This change allows her to remove from her shoulders the veil of feathers and the weight of responsibility, which is manifested in the development of an excessive affection for the sweet.


The book combines two different stories: the story of the sorceress and the apprentice and the story of the boy and the demon.

Both are told alternately, connecting and influencing each other.

On a second reading, I read them separately, each story by itself while skipping chapters, and thus more layers and dimensions were revealed to me.

Tamar Hochstetter takes familiar characters and motifs - a boy, a sorceress, a sorcerer, a demon, a show, a journey of initiation and rescue - plays with them and concocts a new and original dish with a delicate aroma of classics.

Thus, for example, inspired by "Alice in Wonderland", in which Alice grows up and becomes small involuntarily, as an image of the process of growing up, Noah also matures during the book, but rather Mombizan, the older sorceress (whose name suggests "Wizard of Oz"), changes shape involuntarily.

Despite the restrained relationship between the sorceress and her apprentice, which is very different from the melodramatic relationship between the boy and his mother in "The Flower of the Golden Heart", the way the boy puts himself at risk to heal the sorceress reminded me of this classic story and even of Bastian, who seeks a cure for the childlike empress from " The neverending story".


Greetings from Mela Goldberg


You can find more classic children's books in the book of acceptances and greetings.

Some of them must have been put there on purpose and with awareness, and others may have crept in there without realizing it, from their central place in the soul of the writer.

Hochstetter is amazing to use not only the treasure of world children's literature but also the treasure of Hebrew culture.

Rifat, Difat and Morifat - some of them are biblical names and some of them were probably invented by Han Bialik and Leah Goldberg turned them into magic words in her translation of "Lilbes the Circus Girl". This.


Yaakov Orland's words to the song "Who is howling in the wind" become a mysterious and powerful magic spell, in a way that recalls the spectacular use that Roni Gelbfisch made in "The Shadow Lake" of quotations from Hebrew poetry. One can, of course, enjoy the story as it is without being aware of the embedded gestures and layers In. Even without them the story is suspenseful, engrossing, disturbing and exciting.

It is rare to find illustrations in contemporary youth books, and when there are, they are often minimalistic.

In this book, on the other hand, it is evident that thought, creativity and even budget were invested in the illustrations - the front and back covers are gilded in relief.


The illustrator Shiraz Foman did a thorough and excellent job here.

It is clear that she read and understood the text in its depth, and was good at giving life to the characters and events, completing the text, deepening it and adding details that were not explicitly written.

It moved me especially in the illustration that closes the book, which dares to give the characters more emotion than the text gives.


Life Saver


The building blocks that create the story are deep, painful and very brave.

It is a complex story that does not spoon-feed its readers but dances around the death of growth, disillusionment, contradiction between motherhood and personal development, falling in love in the face of loneliness and cruelty born of pain.

All of these are only hinted at in the text and are open to diverse interpretations, and have the power to both attract and deter young readers or parents of young readers.

Also the explicit dark instincts of the fragile demon, his sadistic humor and his repeated statement "I go out to kidnap and ferret to murder and rape to embarrass and torture and deceive" - ​​may discourage protective parents.


As a protective mother myself, I admit that these elements deterred me, and still, and perhaps even precisely because of this, the fact that the evil in the book is an exposed and distilled evil and not a fake evil wrapped in bombshells is important.


Are there children for whom this book might be too difficult, scary, strange or disturbing?

Without a doubt.


Are there other children for whom this book will serve as a lifeline in their coming-of-age journey?

Again, without a doubt.


There are also many adults who are connected to the children who once were and understand the power and magic of children's books, and for all of them it is good that "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" was written and published.

This is a fantasy book for youth, and for adults who are not afraid of children's books.

This is a powerful book with classic qualities.

The ingredients that make it up are not easy to digest, but it is worthwhile and appropriate to choose to devote yourself to it.

Tamar Hochstetter / The Magician's Apprentice, illustrations: Shiraz Poman, with Oved, 183 pages

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Source: israelhayom

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