As the front cover of this graphic novel announces, Hereville:  How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch stars Mirka, "yet another troll-fighting, 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl."  What?  That seems unexpected to you?  Deutsch clearly has as part of his agenda to push away your preconceived notions and to give Mirka an adventure.

Some parts of this book are delightful--I love Mirka's personality, persistence, and bravery.  On the other hand, Mirka "wins" her sword by knitting (really) and out-thinking a troll.  I'm just fine with her smarts, but in some places Deutsch reinforces the very stereotypes he appears to be seeking to undermine.

I wanted to love this book unconditionally, but as a whole I was left wanting something more or different.  Parts of it are quite engaging -- Mirka interacting with the monsterous pig is great fun, and her connection to her family, especially her stepmother, is touching and sweet.

I haven't "test-driven" this book with students yet, but I suspect that they will find it alien, even though they are Jewish.  I also wonder if the general population will expect that all Jews think and behave in this fashion. (We don't.)  Still, it is fun in parts.  I certainly would like to see what further adventures Mirka might have with that sword of hers