Always Some­thing Else

M. C. Milman
  • Review
By – July 9, 2012
Eli­she­va Raskin is a spunky ten-year-old who fre­quent­ly finds her­self in chal­leng­ing sit­u­a­tions. With her good humor, cre­ativ­i­ty, and more than a lit­tle good for­tune, though, she is able to make the best of it all. M. C. Mill­man paints Elisheva’s Ortho­dox fam­i­ly in warm, affec­tion­ate lan­guage, and though the sib­lings occa­sion­al­ly dis­agree, it is obvi­ous that they all real­ly care about each oth­er; adher­ence to Jew­ish law is observed through­out. Through her adven­tures, the well-mean­ing pro­tag­o­nist learns the dis­tinc­tion between appro­pri­ate mod­esty and stand­ing up for one­self, tries to remem­ber to judge oth­ers favor­ably, and real­izes that she is always being watched (whether by peo­ple or by G‑d) and needs to behave accord­ing­ly. Some of the episodes are preachi­er than oth­ers, but the lessons are deliv­ered with a rel­a­tive­ly soft touch. A glos­sary is pro­vid­ed to explain the many Hebrew and Yid­dish terms used. The line draw­ing illus­tra­tions are light-heart­ed, if not very sophis­ti­cat­ed, and depict girls in long sleeves and long skirts, sheit­eled women, and beard­ed men. This is an engag­ing work of kosher” fic­tion for grade-school girls. Ages 8 – 12.
Mar­ci Lavine Bloch earned her MLS from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land, a BA from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­va­nia and an MA in Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture from Ford­ham Uni­ver­si­ty. She has worked in syn­a­gogue and day school libraries and is cur­rent­ly fin­ish­ing her term on the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Committee.

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