From School Library Journal
Grade 3–5—Twelve-year-old Shoshana and her family set out for Amsterdam in 1854 but end up in the New World after a pirate attack puts them off course. Landing at the port of "Nieuw Amersterdam" after a precarious voyage from Brazil, the Levys have to overcome prejudice to make a place for themselves in the Dutch community. Shoshana, whose name means "rose" in Hebrew, longs to see an actual rose, and while searching for one in the woods she befriends a Lenape Indian, Ogin, whose name also means "rose." Their friendship alarms Shoshana's mother, whose own prejudice toward the Indians adds a bit of drama to this thin story and leads to a contrived conclusion. Rather than enhancing the plot and bringing depth to the characters, the historical and cultural descriptions of both the Jews and the Lenapes often read like separate texts, weakening the narrative. In addition, there is a great deal of didactic contemporizing that detracts from the integrity of the story. For example, discussions about doing one's homework, getting good grades, and the harm to children of separated parents seem more appropriate in present-day America than in Colonial times. In spite of addressing an interesting and underrepresented period in the history of the Jewish people that might have wide appeal, this book is at best suited for the niche market that has an interest in Gali Girl dolls and other products.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
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