Rave Reviews Log: Historical Fiction

November 14, 2007

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk

By Sid Fleischman
Era: Post-WWII Europe
Rating: 4 1/4 stars
Reviewed by Noelle

Award winner Fleischman takes a unique angle in telling a story about the Holocaust. The Great Freddie is an American, ex-Air Force, traveling Europe as a ventriloquist after the war. Scraping by playing in dives, one night he finds a dybbuk--the spirit of a Jewish child--in his closet. The spirit claims to be Avrom Amos Poliakov, a boy killed when Nazi SS men hunted down Jewish children of all ages to try and exterminate them all. Avrom wants to possess Freddie, and in exchange for some services Freddie can do for him, Avrom will help Freddie's very bad ventriloquist act. Freddie isn't interested in the deal, but he doesn't have a choice. Soon Freddie's amazing act is pulling in the crowds, but Avrom is using the publicity to try and find his killer. Can a reluctant entertainer and a ghost bring a murderer to justice? Readers will be caught up in the funny dialogue that abounds throughout this serious story, and will whip through the pages to see if Freddie manages to help his dybbuk reach his goal. An unusual and provocative tale, like nothing else you've read on the Holocaust.