Sam Bloom's Reviews > How Mirka Got Her Sword

How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry  Deutsch
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's review
Jan 27, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2010-books, childrens-graphic-novels

This is a pretty stellar graphic novel - I would have gone with 4 1/2 stars if that was an option. And it sports possibly the best byline of all time: "Yet another troll-fighting 11-year old Orthodox Jewish Girl." If that doesn't suck you in, I don't know what will!

There are some pretty standard childlit conventions here: there's the plucky, stubborn heroine, Mirka; the quest for a sword; and the large, violently hostile pig that tries to do Mirka in. Okay, I'm just kidding on that last one being conventional, and it is just a great, great section of the book. At one point, Mirka hog-ties the beast and is taken on a crazy ride, which climaxes when the pig jumps in a river. Here Deutsch does something really cool: the longer Mirka is underwater, the more frenzied her thought bubbles become, until finally they are overlapping in a chaotic, jumbled mess. Nicely done!

I also was quite impressed by the way Deutsch takes a tried-and-true story element - the hard-nosed stepmother - and tweaks it a bit by showing the genuine affection between Mirka and her stepmother. Also, not to give too much away here, Mirka cleverly uses her stepmother's "gifts" in her final battle with the troll. This is a fine graphic novel, and hopefully this isn't the last we've heard of young Mirka.

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