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In the Market of Zakrobat (Paperback)

Children's Books

By Ori Elon, Illustrations by Menahem Halberstadt
Imprint: Green Bean Books
Pages: 32
Illustrations: Illustrated throughout
ISBN: 9781784386528
Published: 29th July 2021

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Baltosar lives in a giant fortress in the town of Zakrobat. Despite owning thirteen boxes of gold, he prides himself on how frugally he lives.

Yosef, Baltosar’s neighbour, is a hardworking cobbler who lives in poverty. Yet, every Friday, he goes to the market to buy something special for Shabbat. Yosef is famous for his festive Shabbat meals.

One night, Baltosar dreams that his boxes of gold grow feet and run away to Yosef. He wakes up screaming in terror and vows that Yosef will never have a penny of his great fortune. He comes up with the perfect scheme to keep his riches safe, or at least safe from Yosef, but things don’t quite go according to plan.

Told with humour and a lightness of touch, this classic fable of a miser’s comeuppance celebrates generosity of spirit and the joy of Shabbat as all the riches a person needs.

This is not a story I have ever heard before and I loved it. It's about a Jewish cobbler who is always happy and hard working, and plans for Shabbat every week. There is also the rich man who hoards his treasure and lives like a mizer. This story was wonderful and the illustrator did an amazing job. The illustrations are full of color and bring a smile to the reader's face.

NetGalley, Ryan A. Franklin

This is a cute little storybook! I particularly enjoyed the drawings and think that's the highlight of the book.

It's short and sweet, and kids and adults will enjoy the pictures and prose.

NetGalley, Meagan Davenport

In the Market of Zakrobat by Ori Elon is a cute picture book with a wonderful message. This book is a retelling of a Jewish folktale based on Yosef Moker Shabbos who always honors Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest.

Baltosar is a rich man who lives in a giant fortress in the town of Zakrobat. He has 12 locked chests filled with gold coins. Despite all the riches, he lives frugally and is proud of it. Though, the people see him as stingy, and not careful.

>From his high tower, Baltosar sees the hut of his poor neighbor–Yosef, a cobbler. He doesn’t even have money to buy shoes for himself, but on every Shabbat, he cooks elaborate meals for his daughter, Zohar. He is poor, yet he is happy; which leaves Baltosar bewildered.

A scary dream results in Baltosar coming up with the perfect scheme to keep his riches safe from Yosef. Unfortunately, much to his disappointment, his elaborate plan fails.

The illustrations by Menahem Halberstadt are colorful, evocative and truly delightful. They are sure to attract young readers. In fact, I requested for this book only because of the cover picture!
I would recommend this book for early readers as the vocabulary is simple, and they might be able to read this freely on their own or with a little assistance. The story is easy to understand, even for non-Jewish readers who may not be aware of Jewish customs and rituals. Yosef’s repetitive verses were delightful and made for an interesting read.
This story conveys valuable lessons in a simple manner. Children would understand the importance of sharing, and also how our thoughts and actions impact our lives.

NetGalley, Chandra Sundeep

This was such a cute book, the illustrations were beautiful and the lesson this book taught was very eye opening.

NetGalley, maryam .

This is a lovely little picture book that retells the Jewish fable of Yosef Moker Shabbos – Yosef who cherishes the Shabbat. (or, as we know it, the Sabbath.)

In the city of Zakrobat lives a miser named Balthosar. To make sure that his wealth stays his alone, he exchanged it all for a huge diamond. But circumstances work against him and ultimately, his wealth ends up with his neighbour Yosef, who is a poor cobbler but observant of the traditions and generous with his meagre riches.

As I’m not Jewish, this story was just a regular fable to me with no religious significance as such. But it will be an interesting way for children to learn that stinginess doesn’t pay and generosity of spirit is much more important than worldly riches. ‘You get what you give’ – this is a moral that I diligently believe in, and it was nice to see the same moral arising from Yosef’s story.

The illustrations are really well-drawn. The sketches will make you recollect old-time Russian storybooks with their vivid scenes.

NetGalley, Roshni D'Souza

About Ori Elon

Ori Elon is an award-winning Israeli filmmaker and writer. He is the author of Invisible Show, which won the Israeli Ministry of Culture Best Novel award. He has written several children's books including, The Chickens That Were Turned Into Goats and King Gogle. He is the co-creator and writer of the critically acclaimed television drama Shtisel, which won 17 Israeli Academy Awards. He was one of the writers of the drama series Srugim, the mini-series Autonomous and the comedy The Choir.


About Menahem Halberstadt

Menahem Halberstadt studied painting and drawing under the instruction of the famous Israeli artists Leonid Balaklav and Aram Gershuni. Following this, he studied animation at the Bezalel Academy and graphic design at Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem. He works as an illustrator with a number of publishing houses in Israel and lives in Israel with his wife and four children.

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