Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch

"Yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl" (tagline from the front cover).

Mirka lives in Hereville a small community of Orthodox Jews with her father, her step-mother and a gaggle of siblings. Most of her excitement in life is derived from finding ways to avoid doing her knitting, arguing with her step-mother and an irksome pig who keeps sneaking into the village and eating her homework. However, though Mirka's life seems quotidian her dreams are anything but. Mirka dreams of slaying a dragon. A dream that seems out of reach until she does a favor for a woman who turns out to be a witch. The witch gives Mirka instructions on where to find a magic sword and that's when Mirka's adventures really begin!

I love the way this book immersed me in a totally different culture. The book drops Yiddish phrases left and right (and fortunately translates them at the bottom the page), provides a loving description of Shabbos and even explains how you can tell which school girls are pious, popular or rebels just by looking at their nearly identical school uniforms. (click on the picture below). The book ends with a bang too! The way she fights the troll will certainly make you chuckle and maybe even burst out laughing. Give this one to feisty girls, fans of (Jewish) adventure stories and people who love to laugh grades 3 to 8.

[Click here to see if it's available]

by Patrick