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.