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September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
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Book Reviews


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book-yona-hanaviTitle: Rebbe Mendel Presents: In Search of Lost Treasure
Author: Nathan Sternfeld
Publisher: Feldheim

I just read an unusual book about a man named R’ Sholom Abramson. This is one of the books in the famous Rebbe Mendel series. In this book, R’ Sholom goes through a series of adventures set in Russia around the time of World War I. I’m sure that you’ll agree this is a great book to read.

Throughout the book there are many characters who help R’ Sholom during difficult times. R’ Shalom is sent to a Russian prison for hiding one of Vladimir Lenin’s men. There, R’ Shalom meets Ignatz, an irreligious Jew whom R’ Sholom saved from another prisoner. They become friends, and R’ Shalom teaches Ignatz about Judaism. Eventually they are separated and R’ Shalom gets sent to Siberia while Ignatz is released from jail. There are also a lot of children in this book, and much of the excitement surrounds them.book-yona-coloring-book

Did I mention the book has a deciphered code, a map and a treasure? If that doesn’t make you read the book, I don’t know what will.

This book is made up of many separate adventures that all end up tying together, which makes the story so unusual. Some parts have excitement and danger, some are funny, and unfortunately there are also sad parts (only a few).

I would recommend this book to children who are very adventurous and like the occasional scary, life-threatening parts.

* * * * *

Title: Fantastic Journey – In the Footsteps of Yonah HaNavi
Author: A. Bat Melech
Illustrator: R. David
Publisher: Feldheim, Telalim Publications

This story is a graphic novel about an exciting time travel trip back to the time of Yonah HaNavi. It started when two boys, Shaya and Shimi, had a question about layning Yonah on Yom Kippur and asked their grandfather what the answer was. He didn’t give them an answer, but put them in the hands of Yeshayahu, who led them through time to see miracle after miracle with Yonah HaNavi. In the end they got their answer and many more answers to questions that they could have asked.

book-rebbe-mendelTheir first trip was to Yerushalayim. They were near the Bais Hamikdash on Sukkos during the Simchas Bais Hashoeva. They overheard conversations with their “wonderscopes” (an x-ray telescope with audio capabilities!) about Yonah, both good and bad.

Soon, they see Yonah running from the Bais Hamikdash towards the shore, where a ship was about to set sail. He told the sailors that he wanted to be a sailor like them. Shortly after they departed, a storm began that only affected their ship. Yonah went to the captain and said that he was responsible for the storm. Yonah told the captain to throw him overboard and the storm would stop, which eventually the captain did.

Shaya, Shimi and Yeshayahu then watched as Yonah was swallowed by a giant fish. They saw the fish approach Livyasan, the king of all fish. Yonah’s fish then spit him out, and a different fish swallowed him. It eventually spit him out on the shore. The rest of the book describes how Yonah got the city of Ninveh to do teshuva. The kids went back home with all their questions answered and lessons about teshuva learned.

I really liked how this book told the story of Yonah through the use of time travel and x-ray telescopes. The pictures were nicely illustrated and the text easy to read and understand. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to experience the story of Yonah in a unique way.

About the Author: Shmuel Holczer is a seventh grader. He is an avid reader of interesting books. He can be reached at magazine@jewishpress.com


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More Articles from Shmuel Holczer
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It might still be two weeks to Pesach, but is never too early to start thinking about Afikomen presents.

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When the Fine family (not related to the Feiners from Alone in Africa!) move into a new neighborhood, the twin siblings named Nesanel (again, not related to Nesanel Feiner) and Nechama set out on a very important mission – finding friends to rescue them from their boredom.

Alone in Africa, by Avigail Sharer, is an original adventure story about three siblings named Nesanel, Penina and Chezky Feiner, who are, well, alone in Africa. Except they aren’t entirely alone – they have animals and two battling African tribes to keep them company.

The book Here Comes Shabbos! is about a family baking, cooking, polishing silver, shining shoes, shopping and cleaning for Shabbos. The activities begin on Friday morning and only conclude shortly before lighting the Shabbos candles. During that time span, it covers everything you need to do in order to get ready for Shabbos.

This book is very riveting. It is a comprehensive biography of the Mirrer Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Nosson Tzvi Finkel, zt’l. It starts out telling us about the Mirrer Yeshiva escaping to Shanghai from Lithuania during World War II because of the invading Germans. It then describes Rabbi Finkel’s family, and then Rabbi Finkel himself. It is important for young adults to see our gedolim as role models, and Rabbi Teller’s biography provides just that. Also, Rabbi Finkel is a relatable role model, because he grew up as a typical American Jewish kid.

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