Parry Rigney's Reviews > How Mirka Got Her Sword

How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry  Deutsch
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's review
May 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: adventure, award-winner, graphic-novels, kid-lit, ya-lit

Eleven-year-old Mirka lives in Hereville, a tiny Orthodox Jewish community at the edge of a wood. Mirka’s head is full of dreams of becoming a dragon-slayer, much to the dismay of her stepmother Fruma and her older sister Gittel, whose wishes for Mirka include concentrating on her knitting and acting “normal,” so as to not hurt her sisters’ chances at making good marriages. Acting normal, however, is not foremost in her mind when Mirka stumbles upon a mysterious house in the woods, launching her into an adventure far stranger than she could have imagined.

I loved the characters in this graphic novel – Mirka, simultaneously rebellious and dutiful; Fruma, efficient, argumentative, wise, and surprisingly tender; Gittel, pious and conventional and also loving; and Zindel, Mirka’s little brother, reluctantly adventurous and clearly in awe of his brave older sister. I loved the blend of the real – especially details of everyday life in an orthodox Jewish community – and the fantastic – a talking pig, determined to gain revenge on Mirka, makes a habit of eating her homework every day. I also loved the tender depiction of an ordinary family – their unique dynamic, their rituals, their squabbles, and their joys.

Hereville is a fun, irreverent adventure story, a tender family story, and a poignant coming of age story about finding one’s sword in life. Its sequel, Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite, is in the works!

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