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Yakov and the seven Thieves EMedia Review

A small, sick boy lies in bed waiting for death. “He is leaving this world … I can see it in his eyes,” says the mother. But Yakov, the father, has not given up. A visit to the wise old man who lives in the last house at the edge of the village (“a very small village tucked away between two mountains”), brings him hope. What happens? You’ll just have to read the book.
In this book, the third instalment of a five-part series, Madonna weaves a tale of miracles set in old-fashioned times. Inspired by “a great teacher who lived in the Ukraine in the 18th century”, this book carries more moral lessons and values, an already familiar facet from the singer’s first two books.
Written in the style of traditional fables, it is, at times, a little in-your-face preachy. This worked while we were still reading Aesop’s Fables, but it can be a little hard to swallow now that we are all “grown-up”: “The thieves represent the things in us that are bad or wrong or selfish ” the parts we need to change to be happy. When we want to make miracles happen, we have to recognise and acknowledge our bad traits.” Then again, it is useful for children who will probably be more open to the good lessons as told by a superstar rather than a Greek slave (Aesop was said to be a slave who gained freedom by his wit ” though some say his history appears to be just a legend).
One thing that can be said of all Madonna’s books are that the illustrations are beautiful. With the first book, The English Roses, the touch was modern. The second, Mr Peabody’s Apples, has an American feel. With Yakov, Russian painter Gennady Spirin gives your imagination enough fodder to recreate old Eastern Europe. The details evoke a sense of nostalgia, and you might find yourself picking it up just to drool over the pictures. Go ahead. You won’t be disappointed.
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