Friday, February 15, 2013
by Anna Olswanger, illustrated by Miriam Nerlove
NewSouth Books, 2012. 47 pages. Fiction
Why is such a short book in the Fiction section rather than Intermediate Beginning Chapter books? Because of its sorrowful subject matter. The unnamed narrator is a stutterer and a student at a Brooklyn yeshiva in 1946. One day he and his classmates are called in from their stickball game so their Rebbe can inform them that refugee boys from Poland whose parents were killed in the concentration camps, will soon be joining their school. Daniel, one of the boys, and the greenhorn of the title, refuses to speak and always carries a small tin box with him. When he does start to talk, he will only speak Yiddish.The reasons for Daniel's attachment to his box are desperately sad, but with the help of his friend, our unnamed narrator, he goes on to make a good life for himself and a family.
A fine, readily accessible book about the Holocaust, based on a true story. Parents may want to read it with their children, but certainly to read it first.