Book Review,  Reviews

Hereville #1 and #2- Barry Deutsch

Welcome to Hereville, home of the first-ever wisecracking, adventure-loving, sword-wielding Orthodox Jewish heroine. A delightful mix of fantasy, adventure, cultural traditions, and preteen commotion, this fun, quirky graphic novel series will captivate middle-school readers with its exciting visuals and entertaining new heroine.

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!

In How Mirka Got Her Sword, Mirka fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find—and outwit—the giant troll who’s got it!

When we revist Mirka in Ho Mirka Met A Meteorite a misguided troll aims a meteor at the witch’s house, the witch grabs hold of the closest thing possible to transform the flying, flaming rock—and that would be Mirka’s hair. The meteor is changed, all right: it’s now Mirka’s identical twin.

Doppelganger Mirka, vowing to be a better version of the real girl, sets out to charm all of Hereville, including Mirka’s own family. Our heroine challenges the meteor girl to a three-part contest . . . and the loser will be banished from Hereville forever!

I enjoyed the Hereville graphic novels but unfortunately not as much as I thought I would. Mirka is a sweet, adventurous girl who knows there is more to life than finding a husband, which I can definitely get on board with. I loved her imagination and the way the graphic novel element really brought the story to life. 
I think the Hereville graphic novels are much better suited to the American market, or a more jewish market due to the religious element of the story. I didn’t realise how much importance would be based on the fact that Mirka is Jewish before I started reading and the ideals of her religion didn’t really mesh with my ideals very well. However before I lose track and go into my own religious beliefs I do think one thing the books did well was explain a bit about the Jewish religion and its importance on certain things. I know nothing of the Jewish religion but never felt lost or didn’t understand anything and I think these graphic novels could be very useful for bringing a bit of fun to Religious Education. 
Mirka has a tight-knit family and spends a lot of time with her brother and sisters, particularly Rochel, Zindel and Gittel, and I really loved how close they all were. I loved that they’re relationship really did feel like a sibling relationship – with the exception of Rochel who felt more like a friend, but she was a stepsister rather than a full sister. I kinda liked the relationship between Mirka and her stepmother too, even though they didn’t get on well, they still didn’t not get on and you could tell that Fruma did love Mirka and her siblings very much. I liked Fruma too because although she was strict, she was still humorous too. 
I think Hereville will be liked by its target audience age because the stories of witches, trolls and Dragons. There’s enough mystery and magic weaved between the reality that it will captivate the reader and it will be great for teaching those who don’t come into contact with Jewish families a lot about their religion and how it shapes them as people. Whilst it didnt grab me and make me love it too much, I can definitely see its merits. 
Hereville ‘How Mirka Got Her Sword’ was published on October 1st, ‘How Mirka Met A Meteorite’ followed on November 1st, both were published by Abrahams and Chronicle. My copies were sent to me in exchange for an honest review.

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