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My Father Always Embarrasses Me

MY FATHER ALWAYS EMBARRASSES ME by Meir Shalev, illustrated by Yossi Abolafia, translated from the Hebrew by Dagmar Herrmann Chicago: Wellington Publishing, Inc., 1990 unnumbered, $13.95

This is a welcome translation of a humorous Israeli picture book, originally published in 1988, about a stay-at-home father, a writer, and his eccentric ways that mortify his young son. Meir Shalev catalogs authentically the humiliating indignities suffered by a five-year old, complete with a fantastical tall-tale denouement, and leaves us with the thought that learning to live with love and embarrassment and pride is a task that challenges each generation anew.

The American edition of this book (in which Abba becomes Mr. Dunne and Efraim becomes Mortimer) was translated competently by Dagmar Herrmann. The format has been enlarged and the colors deepened on the fine water-color cartoon style illustrations by Yossi Abolafia.

The non-didactic, non-sexist assumptions of this delightful book makes it a refreshing export of Israeli culture. Not embarrassing at all.