Reviews for Greenhorn

Kirkus Reviews 2012 October #2
In 1946, a young survivor of the concentration camps comes to America from Poland with nothing but a mysterious box that never leaves his possession. Daniel is one of a group of boys who have lost their parents in the Holocaust and have been brought to live and study in a yeshiva in New York City. Daniel is overwhelmed by past horrors and finds adjustment to his present circumstances difficult in the extreme. He is befriended by Aaron, who tries to ease his way into this new life. Many of the boys at school are not exactly kind and considerate; they mercilessly tease Aaron for stuttering, and they keep pushing at Daniel to reveal the contents of the box. They force the issue by taking the box from him and opening it. What they find stuns them, as do Daniel's heartbreaking reasons for keeping the object. Based on a true story, the narrative is told in Aaron's voice, with copious use of dialogue to further the plot. Nerlove's softly hued, full-page illustrations mostly depict quiet, calm moments, making the depiction of the attack on Daniel more startling. Olswanger's deceptively simple tale can jump-start a discussion of the Holocaust, as well as the repercussions for those who survived and, indeed, for all humanity. A book to be read by adult and child together. (afterword, glossary) (Historical fiction. 10-14) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 October #2

An earnest boy who stutters, Aaron knows what it means to be an outsider in his yeshiva in 1946 Brooklyn (his classmates have nicknamed him "Gravel Mouth"). When an orphaned Holocaust survivor named Daniel arrives clutching a tin box he refuses to give up or talk about, Aaron feels an instant connection. But Daniel's sense of loss and displacement is far greater than Aaron can imagine, and it takes a slow building of trust and a courageous stand by Aaron before the young refugee will open up. Inspired by a true story (related in an afterword) and previously published in a limited edition by the author in 2006, Olswanger's tale evinces a fine ear for the rough-and-tumble speech of city kids and an eye for detail. The narrative is unevenly paced and often hard to follow, however, and the mystery that Olswanger (Shlemiel Crooks) tries to build around the contents of Daniel's box, however horrific, feels like a distraction. Nerlove's watercolors, new to this edition, add punctuations of color to the story, but little in terms of character depth or dramatic tension. Ages 9-12. (Nov.)

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