My name is Shiffy, and I'm ten years old, in sixth grade. I LOVE reading. I read the book by your father, the late Abraham Regelson: "The Dolls' Journey to Eretz-Israel" in Hebrew. I enjoyed very much how the dolls "functioned" as humans, because it created such funny situations. Especially I loved Viking, Balt-Ayin and Milta Zotarta*. The old-fashioned language sometimes reminds me of the prayer-book and the Bible; that was so entertaining!
I want to ask you: were you really the dolls' mom when you were small, and did you make parties for them? I'd love to meet you with my parents. Is it possible? Thank you again.
Shiffy Goldfarb, Ma'alot
*[Translator's Note: In the English version, Balt-Ayin and Milta Zotarta are called Popeye and Thingumbob, which were "Anglo" names from the earliest pre-State editions, later Hebraized by the author in editions following the State of Israel's establishment.]
To the Mother of the Dolls,
Thank you for the book, I enjoyed it very much, and many thanks for the dedication; it was such a good book and I will cherish it all my life.
Reading your father's book, I couldn't stop, and at night when I was supposed to be asleep I kept reading But my mom caught me at it, and almost punished me!
From me, with love and thanks, Ilana Yaron, age 10, Tel-Aviv
"The story was absorbing and last night I read the book with my mom till the end without stopping (except for short bathroom stops). For me, the book is a winner!"
Gali Einy, age 9, Matan
"This recently reprinted book about nine dolls' immigration to pre-state Palestine still has a special magic."
Dr. Yael Dar, HaAretz review, June 10, 2005
Noga Applebaum, London Jewish Quarterly, summer 2005
"We love this book ever since my, and Sharona's, girlhood. In my opinion, it hasn't lost its flavor, but rather improves with age like good wine."
Arnona Paikes, Jerusalem
"I'm not surprised that Naomi Shemer expressed herself so enthusiastically about the book. I too enjoyed reading the story about the mother of the dolls. The rich language, etched by a master artist's pen -- how lovely! And best of all this book is the very embodiment of Zionism!"
Tovah Povitzer, Jerusalem (veteran educator, former director of a teacher's seminary in Beersheva)
"I loved the book so, I read it three times in a row, at one sitting!"
Danny Beller, reporter in Kol-Bi, Beersheva local weekly.
"Masa HaBubot l'Eretz- Israel" was one of my favorite childhood books, and I actually knew it by heart! How I identified with Sharona and with her dolls! I'm delighted to purchase the book anew, both to relive my childhood memories and to present it to my grandchildren."
Professor Sarah Yefet, Israel Prize winner (Bible)
The Hebrew University, Jerusalem
"Masa HaBubot le'Eretz-Israel restores me to my youth, and transports me to my own youthful memories of my "betrayal" of the children's weekly "Itoneinu" ["Our Newspaper"] to which I was a subscriber, and which I enjoyed reading. But I switched to the paper "Davar Li'yladim". And why? Because there the story "Masa HaBubot" appeared in weekly installments, and I was so drawn to it with bonds of enchantment that I decided to ask my parents to subscribe to "Davar Li'yladim", so that I could read it permanently, and not by chance at one or another friend's house. And my parents obliged my request, but insisted that I make do with just one children's weekly. And so I made Sharona's acquaintance many years before I knew her personally, and even made music with her on many an occasion."
David Chen, Jerusalem, musician and violinist
"The book is fascinating - presenting the pre-state period to the reader, a time of Zionism truly embodied, with reality and imagination intertwined - and humor, language, dolls who are brought to life (actually the real family) and their trials of adjustment - heartfelt thanks!"
Edna Peres, cultural events coordinator, "Lev Ganim", Nethanya
"As soon as I received the beautiful book I put it on a high shelf, so that my two-and-a-half-year-old wouldn't get a chance to tear it apart. But the very next morning she immediately eyed it. So I began to read it to her, sure that her attention would not be maintained very long, as there are no loud colors screaming off the pages and there is a lot of text on each page. But lo and behold, she absolutely loves it. I read a chapter to her every couple of days and her attention is all there. She asks me questions and tries to figure out in the drawing which doll is being described. And the Hebrew is so beautiful! Many thanks",
Devorah Hellerstein, Tel-Aviv
"A wonderful book! I couldn't put it down. Read it to your children!"
Rivka Michaeli, TV talk show hostess (live broadcast, morning show May 5, 2005 )
[Reading the English version], I have really been enjoying your book's
eloquent English, its great sense of humour, its characterizations -- and
can hear you/the dolls singing HALLEL in Hebrew when I read it in English!
And can clearly see why this book was so popular in its day, and why it
should become popular again!
Sue Tourkin-Komet, Jerusalem
I really liked your book, especially the part that Balt-Ayin/Popeye
scared the elephant; it is so funny that every time I read it
I start laughing! Another part I like is when Milta Zotarta/Thingumbob went
away and got back with a camel. Really funny too. A very nice book!
Noa Saraf, Bat Hefer, age 9
My 10-year-old daughter enjoyed this book immensely. She wants to save it to read to her own daughter one day.
Rise Silverman, Beersheva
I find the book delightful, almost magical!
Ann Hudson, Derry, New Hampshire
As an old-time fan of this book that your late father wrote, I had been searching hard for this book, and finallly located it in a 1959 edition, and in a 1981 edition. I was delighted to hear that a new edition has been issued, an addition to my library. Of course, I'd be grateful for a personal dedication to me. That I'd consider an honor!
Amira Atir, Ramat HaSharon
Truly a beautiful and interesting book!
Neta Shlezinger, Jerusalem
I enjoyed the book no end. If not for my adult responsibilities, I would have read it all at one sitting. Being a translator myself, I appreciated the solutions you found for some very tricky problems.
Debbi Nothmann, Haifa
"The Dolls' Journey to Eretz-Israel" by the grand Hebrew poet Abraham Regelson is a classic of Hebrew children's fiction. Fluently and faithfully translated into English by the poet's daughter, this delightful narrative today still fascinates the young as well as the adult reader as it did when it originally appeared more than seventy years ago (1935). The author's humor and vivid imagination enliven it to the point that it surmounts the difficulties caused by the rich literary language which is not as accessible as it used to be. Telling about the dolls' yearning for Sharona, their three year old "mother," and their voyage from the American mid-West to Palestine of the 1930s, where they are reunited with her, the author managed to equip each of them with an authentic personality, and to produce a true story of travel and adventure, replete with funny surprises. While the life of the dolls with Sharona in Tel Aviv still makes for a pleasurable reading, it also contains the bitter truth about the difficulties of adaptation and acculturation in Israel of the beginning of the twentieth century. The ambience of small Tel Aviv, a town of sand dunes, camels, sea beaches and penury, is wonderfully conveyed. Thus Regelson's masterpiece also impacts us as an early Hebrew classic from the era of pioneers and dreamers
Prof. Dan Miron, Dept. of Hebrew Literature
Columbia University, NYC
A fun book about life in pre-state Israel as experienced by a "family
of dolls". Highly recommended!
This is a Hebrew classic from 1934 and still a great book for the
young of all ages and all faiths, in a wonderful English translation.
It promotes love and identification with the Land of Israel.
My grandaughter has read it hundreds of times and knows it by heart!
ByN.T.on April 4, 2015
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