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How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch

How Mirka Got Her Sword (2010)

by Barry Deutsch

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One day on her way to school Mirka Hirschberg discovers a house that she’s never seen before in her town of Hereville and in the yard of this house is a woman pruning a tree while floating ten feet off the ground. Mirka plucks one of the enormous grapes hanging on the fence of the house, and she’s set upon by a monster. The monster turns out to be a pig, but since Hereville is town inhabited only by Orthodox Jews, Mirka has never seen one, and doesn’t know what to call it until enlightened by her more worldly step-sister. Since Mirka’s ambition in life is to be a dragon slayer, she vows that she’s not going to be defeated by a pig. But when she sets a trap for the pig, she ends up having to battle a troll! ( )
  MaowangVater | Jul 27, 2014 |
Being my first graphic novel, I was unsure of what to expect. But I couldn't put this book down. The creativity of illustrations made it aesthetically pleasing, while the dialogue was easy to follow and kept the story moving. Seeing as it was a book based around the Orthodox Jewish religion, I also think it was a helpful touch to add Jewish words with their meanings at the bottom of the page. I would not have expected to learn about another religion while reading about a girl meeting witches and fighting trolls. It's a quick read, but a worthwhile one. It was clear what text was being spoken and what was setting/character information. Each character was thought out and redeemed in the end. I could see this book being enjoyed by children of any age. ( )
  ghelmus | May 28, 2014 |
Hereville jumped out at me particularly because on the cover of the graphic novel, one reads "Yet another Troll-Fighting 11-year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl". Library collections can always use more female heroes, especially heroes representing different cultures. Being married to a Jewish woman, I have come to learn that much of my community is inexperienced with Jewish culture, primarily because it is a minority among many. This is a superb read for girls and boys who are ready to experience an atypical story while getting a sneak peak of the orthodox jewish life from a young gir's perpspective. This is surely one of my favorite reads of the year!
1 vote MicahCorporaal | Mar 17, 2014 |
This is, in my estimation, nearly as perfect a youth graphic novel as you can get. Mirka is an inspiring heroine, and I loved the warm portrayal of Orthodox Judaism and family, even as Mirka engages in untraditional girl behaviors like swordfighting trolls. ( )
1 vote kahansen | Feb 27, 2014 |
Mirka is an adventurous girl growing up in an insular Orthodox Jewish community. In encounters with a witch, a troll, and a talking pig, she combines quick thinking and determination with lessons learned from her family in order to come out on top. It's bit like (a much more child-friendly) Pan's Labyrinth. Especially of note is the setting, a deeply religious community with little contact with the outside world, to the point where it's not even clear what country or time period it's taking place in. The author paints an engaging and three-dimensional portrait of the town of Hereville, lovingly depicting a rich culture without sugar-coating the fact that it's also pretty repressive in a number of ways--Mirka has to smuggle in books that aren't on the narrow list of approved reading, among other things, and I must admit my reaction to a lot of it was, "wow, I would not have survived if I'd been born here". I'd recommend this book to kids who are interested in learning about different cultures, fans of books that blend magic and realism, and anyone who just likes to argue for the sake of argument or look at thinks from different angle (depicted here as a useful skill and a part of mental flexibility -- in the climax, Mirka seemingly fails a knitting challenge against a troll, but successfully outwits him by challenging his assumptions about what makes a sweater "better".) ( )
1 vote PlasticAtoms | Feb 10, 2014 |
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Book description
Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she does want: to fight dragons!
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Mirka is not interested in doing traditional things girls like to do--she wants to fight dragons and needs a sword.

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