Cover image for Invisible kingdoms : Jewish tales of angels, spirits, and demons
Invisible kingdoms : Jewish tales of angels, spirits, and demons
Schwartz, Howard, 1945-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 68 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
A collection of nine tales from countries around the world, dealing with an assortment of supernatural creatures.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.S4 IN 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.1.S4 IN 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PZ8.1.S4 IN 2002 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Come to a world where angels, ghosts, and demons walk amongst the living and anything is possible. Here, in nine tales of the supernatural, invisible creatures take shape and roam the earth to aid or interfere in the lives of humans. A magic staff makes a man see ghosts, a handsome demon tricks a village girl into marriage, and an angel directs a young man through a dangerous venture -- in the guise of a goat!Howard Schwartz's vibrant retelling of mystical Jewish folktales is full of magic and wonder. The stories span many centuries and range in origin from Middle East to Eastern Europe. Weather you believe in angels, ghosts, and demons is for you to decide, but not before you enter these invisible kingdoms and step into a world where the impossible takes shape and anything can happen!

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3-5. Nine Jewish mystical tales from a wide range of times and places are retold here in a clear, informal style that is just right for reading aloud. Angels, like the newborn baby who remembers paradise, serve as messengers of God; spirits of the dead haunt the physical world as ghosts; and the dead pray in the synagogue every night. Demons can trap people inside stones and take their places. The book design is spacious, with thick, quality paper, and a full-page color illustration with each story captures the sense of angels in the house as well as sacred journeys to the Garden of Eden. Some tales, like the one about the scapegoat, go back to the Bible. Others, like the story of the orphan alone in the forest, are close to folklore. In one beautiful tale a rabbi learns a melody from the cantor's ghost in the synagogue, which keeps the melody alive. It is the stirring combination of the ordinary and the miraculous that keeps these stories vibrant now. Hazel Rochman.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Schwartz (The Day the Rabbi Disappeared: Jewish Holiday Tales of Magic) continues to explore mystical elements of Jewish folklore with nine tales from various regions and periods. Some recombine staple themes of fairy tales, as in "The Angel's Daughter," from Bukhara, wherein the youngest of seven sons embarks on a perilous quest to win the hand of a princess. Others more clearly incorporate Jewish teachings. In the Eastern European "A Roomful of Ghosts," for example, a wise rabbi with a magic staff ("like that of Moses") sends a boy to a cemetery to guide a seemingly doomed spirit to the grave of a miserly man; in begging a ruble from him, she permits him to perform an act of charity and save his soul, and thus she saves her own. Not all the entries are tightly edited, however, and some feel episodic rather than organic. This collection also lacks the interpretive framework that gave such depth to The Day the Rabbi Disappeared. These caveats aside, the writing feels steeped in color and can be easily enjoyed by a nonsectarian audience. Fieser (previously paired with Schwartz for The Sabbath Lion) enhances the book's innate appeal with dynamic full-page illustrations in radiant tones. His style is mostly representational (angels, for example, look like people with wings), reflecting the storyteller's equal emphasis on the natural and the supernatural. Ages 8-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-5-This collection of nine folktales from many sources reflects the tone and quality of the genre quite effectively. The writing is lovely and fluid, with enough formality to capture the traditional style while still being accessible to young readers. In one story, a rabbi talks to ghosts and sends a curious young boy to the cemetery to help put souls to rest. In another tale, a baby is born with a memory of his past life so that he may finish telling a story he began then. And in a third, a boy ends up in the demon's realm and escapes with the help of the demon princess. Engaging and interesting, the pieces are not overly religious, and they have appeal for readers of many different faiths. Fieser's occasional full-page, full-color scenes are for the most part realistic and enhance the text. The use of the word rabbi to describe several people, including a musician and a driver, may confuse some children, and the font is a bit narrow and hard on the eyes, but as a whole this is a worthwhile addition.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
I. The Kingdom of Angelsp. 1
1. The Angel's Giftp. 3
2. The Angel's Swordp. 9
3. The Angel's Daughterp. 14
II. The Kingdom of Spiritsp. 25
4. A Roomful of Ghostsp. 27
5. King David Is Alivep. 32
6. The Lost Melodyp. 36
III. The Kingdom of Demonsp. 41
7. Yona and the River Demonp. 43
8. The Demonic Doublep. 49
9. Escape from the Kingdom of Demonsp. 57
Sourcesp. 68