The Entertainer and the Dybbuk
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The Entertainer and the Dybbuk

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  336 ratings  ·  83 reviews
One night The Great Freddie, a young ventriloquist, is possessed by a dybbuk.

A what?

A Jewish spirit. A scrappy demon who glows as if spray-painted by moonlight.

The dybbuk is revealed to be the ghost of a twelve-year-old boy named Avrom Amos, a victim of the Nazis during World War II. In a plucky scheme to seek revenge, he commandeers The Great Freddie's stage act and entra...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published June 9th 2009 by Greenwillow Books (first published August 21st 2007)
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World War II is over and Freddie, a young ex-soldier, is trying to make his living as a ventriloquist. The only problem is that he isn't that good at throwing his voice without moving his lips. This situation is quickly solved when he suddenly finds himself possessed by a Dybbuk, a young jewish ghost named Avrom Amos who was killed by an SS officer during the war. Avrom wants revenge on those who killed him. He also wants people to remember the terrible fate that came to the millions of jewish c...more
RJ McGill
Oct 10, 2007 RJ McGill rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ages 9-14
Shelves: reviewed
Like so many things in life the story contains mystery, beauty, enchantment and horror. Dybbuk is Hebrew for "cleaving to" -- and remains one of the most enduring beliefs in Jewish folklore. This is the basis for Sid Fleischman's new book which reveals age appropriate information about the harsh cruelty inflicted upon the Jews during the Holocaust in a highly entertaining and unique way.

When twelve year old Avrom Amos, a dybbuk takes up residence in the body of an American ventriloquist what e...more
Shannon Hitchcock
I enjoy reading authors who build a wonderful story with minimum words. Author Sid Fleischman has that uncanny ability to make every word count.

In this story, Avrom Amos was killed by the Nazis before his bar mitzvah. He becomes a Jewish ghost and decides to possess the body of a young ventriloquist named Freddie.

Sid Fleischman doesn't shy away from the horrors of the Holocaust, but he presents the facts in a unique and clever way...through the mouth of a ventiloquist's dummy.

Michelle Pegram
Set three years after World War 2 ended, The Entertainer and the Dybbuk tells the story of an American veteran turned mediocre ventriloquist as he plays for audiences in Vienna, Austria. One night after a performance, he is greeted by a young boy who is revealed to be a dybbuk, the spirit of a holocaust victim. "Think of me as a Jewish Imp," the boy says. "I need to possess someone's body for a while, rent free." So begins a relationship that makes a better entertainer of the American Vet and gi...more
Christine Kloss
Best Books for Young Adults--Controversial topic: violence and revenge

This is a story about a very untalented ventriloquist who is living over in Europe after WWII. He becomes possessed by a dybbuk who was killed by Nazi soldiers along with his sister. The dybbuk begins to speak through The Great Freddie. Although Freddie is reluctant to this plan he goes along with it to continue working and he begins to have sympathy for the dybbuk and the tragedy that happened towards him and the other Jewish...more
Logan Braden
The story is set just after the end of World War II. Freddie is an American soldier who has remained in Europe after the war. He is a ventriloquist that performs in different clubs. Freddie is not particularly talented and audiences complain that they can see his lips move. After returning home from one of the clubs, Freddie finds the ghost of a young boy in his closet, or a dybbuk (which is a Jewish ghost or spirit).

The ghost is a twelve-year-old boy that was killed by the Nazis during the war...more

Format: Audio CD
Age level: Middle school
Protagonist: Fred T. Burch, and American, and Avram Amos, a Jewish Dybbuk

This story revolves around two very different characters, Freddie and Avram. Freddie is a former American G.I. and a so-so ventriloquist. He has stayed in Europe following the war, trying to work as an entertainer. Avram Amos is a dybbuk, which is a Jewish spirit. He comes to Freddie because he needs help completing "unfinished business." Avram ends u...more
Alex Baugh
I had a hard time getting into The Entertainer and the Dybbuk because I don’t like ventriloquists and their dummies. I have always found something creepy about them. But I pushed past my dislike and I am so glad I did.

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk begins in 1948 in Vienna, Austria amid the ruins of World War II. Freddie the Great is an ex-American serviceman who has decided to remain in Europe and is working as a third rate entertainer in third rate dives. His problem is that he isn’t a very go...more
Carol Baldwin
Full Cast Audio does a nice job of providing voices for this humorous yet serious story of a post WWIII ex-GI turned ventriloquist. Freddie T. Birch is a ventriloquist without an act-- until he is possessed by a dybbuk, a Jewish ghost, with an agenda of his own. Even if you don’t listen to this as an audio book, the clever story will entertain and inform readers from ages 10 and up.
The author, Sid Fleischman, uses humor to tell the painful story of a 12-year-old Jewish boy, Avrom Amos, who was...more
Sandra Stiles
I first picked up this book because it had a ventriloquist dummy on the cover. I was not sure what a dybbuk was but learned that it was the equivalent of a Jewish Ghost. This is the story of a ventriloquist who is not very successful. That is until he returns to his room one night and finds someone waiting. He finds out the someone is a dybbuk. He wants something from the Ventriloquist. He needs to inhabit his body in exchange he will help him. Against the entertainer's wishes the dybbuk enters...more
Lindsay Waddell
I'm trying to muddle my way through all of the Georgia Children's Book Award nominees to read with my Reading Bowl Team. I've only read 4 out of the 18 books, whereas some of my students have read all of the books (fast, little readers they are!). We don't read them in any certain order - just as long as they get read. I'm certainly glad I chose this one to read next because I realize now that my students have no idea what they were reading about. We've been discussing each book, but the reading...more
Newport Librarians
Sid Fleischman's story involves an ex-GI who stays on in post-war Europe trying to make it as a ventriloquist and a murdered Jewish boy named Avrom Amos Poliakov. Freddie, the ventriloquist, isn't making it with a lame act, bad jokes, and little ability to throw his voice until Avrom Amos inhabits his body and speaks through his dummy. The act gets better, the jokes get better, but Freddie's life gets terribly complicated by this dead Jewish boy, now a "dybbuk" or spirit, who wants a Bar Mitzvah...more
Dec 29, 2007 Nick rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Twilight Zone fans
This little book is a very quick read, and seemed like a good Twilight Zone episode.
The story takes place in 1948, and the central character is an ex-GI who stayed in Europe, hoping to become an entertainer there. He had been a performing ventriloquist before the war, but his original dummy had been destroyed, and he was out of practice. As a result, he was barely making a living as “The Great Freddie” with a second-rate act.
Then, one day, he encountered a dybbuk, the spirit of a Jewish child w...more
This is a quick read about a weighty topic. The book is physically smaller than many others, and there are relatively few words on a page compared to most other young adult novels. The author uses a dybbuk (or Jewish ghost) of a boy who was killed by a Nazi officer during World War II to talk about the Holocaust. This ghost befriends a struggling ventriloquist, enters his body, and helps the entertainer put on some great shows. But the dybbuk has a purpose and a plan ... I won't give more away,...more
Okay this is the premise of the book:

1. A WWII soldier is doing his gig as a ventriloquist in the year of 1948. (BTW he carried his dummy around Europe in battle. WHAT?)

2. He is approached by a dybbuk, the spirit of a dead 12 year old jewish boy. The boy asks if he can possess the ventriloquist to finish some unfinished business. The ventriloquist says no but the dybbuk does anyway.

3. The dybbuk takes over the ventriloquist's act to find the man who killed him and other Jewish kids during the wa...more
Brandon O'Neill
This is a new twist on a World War II story. Freddie the Great is a former American GI who hangs around Europe with his ventriloquist act, which isn't so great. He meets and becomes some what of a friend to a dybbuk - the spirit of a murdered Jewish child. In life, the child helped Freddie the soldier and he promised to do what he could to repay him. Well, he was killed, but his spirit sill wants Freddie to make good on his promise. He helps Freddie with his act, while looking for the Nazi colo...more
A short but powerful story about the child-killing that occured during the Holocaust.

A dybbuk (ghost) possesses a (not-so-great) American ventriloquist. While helping him to improve his act, the dybbuk tells his story ... and finds a way to make things right.

Fleischman finds ways to incorporate the differences between American Midwest culture and that of European Jews ... and shows some of the processes of rebuilding the ruins left in post-WWII Europe.

There are things that are atrocious that occ...more
In the sizable body of teen Holocaust fiction, this book stands out as one of the only attempts to be funny about it. In post-WWII Europe, an American ventriloquist with limited talent is visited by a dybbuk, the ghost of a Jewish boy killed in the Holocaust. Despite the man's protests, the dybbuk possesses him and his dummy, much improving the show and furthering the dybbuk's plan to exact revenge on the Nazi who killed him. A bizarre premise that mostly worked for me, thanks to Fleischman's ex...more
The Great Freddie isn’t; he’s a second string (or lower) American ventriloquist in 1948 touring Europe. When Avrom possesses his dummy, his act gets much better, and he gets some big bookings. Avrom was murdered when he was 12, so with Freddie’s help he becomes Bar Mitzvah. Then they find the Nazi who killed Avrom...

Ten to twelve year olds may be able to read this book, but older teenagers and adults who know more about the Holocaust may be a better audience.

I really enjoyed this little book.
Sep 20, 2009 Karen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 7th - 8th grade boys or girls who are interested in Holocaust fiction
Just after World War II, an American ventriloquist named Freddie is possessed by a dybbuk - a Jewish spirit. Turns out it's the spirit of a young boy who was murdered during the Holocaust, but only after he saved Freddie's life. Now, he needs Freddie's help to find and avenge his murderer. The story has humor and pathos, and despite it's short length it's is a powerful tale of gratitude, human connections, prejudice, revenge and the horrors of war. I found it very engrossing.
This book is odd. Very odd. It may be the oddest dealing-with-the-Holocaust book I have ever read. It was enjoyable. I liked Avrom's humour, and I liked that there was humour in the book at all. I liked Polly's enjoyment when she introduced her KKK uncle to her supposedly Jewish fiance. But I'm not sure how a child would react to this book. I'm not sure how I reacted to this book. It's just so odd.
Sue Black
A dybbuk, a spirit, enters the body of Freddie, who is a vantriloquist. The dybbuk, Avrom Amos, brings the story of his death and the other Jewish children during the Holocaust to life through Freddie's shows. Freddie becomes extremely popular, and many people learn about the Holocaust, which leads Avrom to his murderer.
Jul 21, 2014 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: readers interested in the Holocaust

This book was given to me by a student. A dybbuk is a Jewish ghost. The two main characters are an American ex-soldier that stayed in Europe after WW II and a young Jewish boy that had been murdered. It is a dark topic and it is not sugar coated. The American is an entertainer, a very unskilled ventriloquist. The Jewish boy wants to possess the soldier so as to seek revenge on the savage SS officer that chased he and his sister down and then murdered them both. What was so incredible about the s...more
Jim March
This book would be most appropriate for a middle school audience, 4th or 5th grade. The protagonist is a the ghost of a young Jewish boy, Avrom Amos Poliakov, who was killed by an SS officer during World War II. Avrom inhabits the body of an American ventriloquist named Fred T. Birch, better known as the Great Freddie. Avrom chooses Freddie to be his host because it turns out that after Fred, a American soldier in WWII, had his plane shot down, Avrom and some other Jewish children in hiding help...more
The Entertainer and the Dybbuk by Sid Fleischman is about Freddie, a man who get’s possessed by a Dybbuk. A Dybbuk is a Jewish spirit who won't go away until it has fulfilled what it needs to fulfill. So anyway, the ventriloquist is horrible. He moves his lips when he does the puppet's voice and everyone can see him do it. Then one day after a show a ghost shows up in his bedroom. The ghost is 12, because he was killed a few weeks before his Bar Mitzvah. When the ghost was alive, Freddie had pro...more
Chris Murray

(Children's Literature Review) Kathe Pinchuck (Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter, November/December 2007 (Vol. 27, No. 2))
The entertainer of the title is The Great Freddie, better known as Sergeant Freddie T. Birch, an ex-GI from Nebraska, who has remained in Europe after World War II and is now a second-rate ventriloquist. The dybbuk is Avrom Amos Poliakov, a young boy who was shot by the Nazis on August 2, 1944. He now seeks revenge for his death as well as for his sister Sulk...more
Michael Brown
Michael Brown
Ms. Cullen
English: 9
“The Entertainer and the Dybbuk” Book Review

Once when i was little, i thought that i could become a ventriloquist. I used a teddy bear to act out different voices to my brother Darren. One day he told me that my mouth moved too much when i spoke through the bear. this is a problem that many beginning ventriloquists deal with, much like the great Freddie in the story “The Entertainer and the Dybbuk”.
It's not your everyday expectation to come into contact...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shortly after WWII, Freddie T. Birch travels the entertainment circuit in Europe as a ventriloquist. He's adequate, but nothing great. But, when Dybbuk Avrom Amos Poliakov enters his body, its quite clear early on that this spirited ghost wants only one thing...revenge. He is looking to avenge his death and that of his sister, Sulka at the hands of Nazi murderer, Colonel Gerhard Junker-Strupp. Avron was shot six times and his sister poisoned as part of the Nazi's campaign to rid Europe of 'Jewki...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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As a children's book author Sid Fleischman felt a special obligation to his readers. "The books we enjoy as children stay with us forever -- they have a special impact. Paragraph after paragraph and page after page, the author must deliver his or her best work." With almost 60 books to his credit, some of which have been made into motion pictures, Sid Fleischman can be assured that his work will m...more
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“I remember as a child of eight being told by a young friend that I had killed Christ. That was news to me. It's a common experience for the Jewish young. Should later generations of Germans be burdened with the guilt arising from the profound inhumanity of their ancestors? Revenge may be sweet, but guilt is non-transferable. Still, hatreds survive with the persistence of cockroaches.” 5 likes
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