Suzanne's Reviews > How Mirka Got Her Sword

How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry  Deutsch
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's review
Oct 17, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: kids-books

Loved this book. The subtitle alone sold me: "yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl." That was enough to get me to order the book and sit down to read it as soon as it arrived. The author does a wonderful job of setting the story in an Orthodox Jewish town with all the religious implications and cultural references that are unfamiliar to people outside the culture, while still letting the story tell itself without degenerating into a diatribe or morality tale.

After reading the first 10 pages or so, I thought, "my daughter would love this book, but she's bound to get lost in all the culture-specific vocabulary". It was then that I noticed the asterisked footnotes "translating" the unfamiliar words and ideas for those who aren't familiar with the context. This makes the book accessible without burying it in explanations.

The story is told in the form of a graphic novel and relates the adventures of Mirka, who really just wants to fight a dragon, but first needs to take on a protective brother, an intelligent pig, and a troll. Hilarious story with hilarious illustrations. I was very pleased with the graphic novel format here, as it added to rather than detracted from the story. Sometimes graphic novels for kids are an attempt to dumb down the content or they are so poorly executed they make your teeth hurt. In this case the format really compliments the story and adds important nuances that convey personality and subtle details of the story.

Great idea, great execution. My daughter and her friends are in for a treat.

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