Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch, 142pp, RL 4
I can't ever imagine getting tired of Barry Deutsch's self-possessed, stubborn heroine or the slightly As one review succinctly, perfectly signed off, "This consistently clever and thoughtful series has not lost a particle of momentum." One of my favorite little things that comes with each new book is the new tagline! For book three in this brilliant series, Hereville: How Mirka Caught a Fish, the it reads, "Yet Another 11-Year-Old Time Traveling Orthodox Jewish Babysitter." As always, Deutsch's books are a marvelous mash-up of a fairy-tale-fantasy world and an Orthodox Jewish community. With book three, we get a glimpse into the world of Fruma, Mirka's stepmother.
Just before leaving Mirka home alone to babysit her little sister Layele, her stepmother Fruma drops some cryptic comments about happenings in the woods near their home. Tasked with doing the Shabbos shopping at Hershel's Grocery, Mirka drags a frightened Layele into the woods first so that she can get help in finding out what Fruma meant. A very funny scene with the troll Mirka fought in the first book ends with a magic hair tie that affords Mirka and Layele to see Fruma as a teenager. A non-Orthodox teenager!
A magic fish, a wish made by teen-Fruma and a tricky second wish that traps the fish cause trouble for Mirka and Layele, who finds herself the vessel for the fish at one point. The fish is determined to exact revenge on Fruma and Mirka finds that she has to use her brain and her empathy instead of her sword to outwit the vindictive fish. Mirka is a compelling character both because of her flaws and her strengths. She is headstrong and determined and always breaking rules and disregarding her elders, and for this I love her. But what I love even more is watching Mirka think (and fight) her way to redemption and success.
Books 1 & 2 in the Hereville Series:
Source: Review Copy