Readers who missed the first volume of Hereville should run out and find a copy, but even so, it won’t be a problem picking up this sequel and jumping right into Mirka’s latest adventure. This volume gives readers enough background knowledge of the first story so that they don’t feel lost, and it will make them fall in love with Mirka and her family and the odd town of Hereville so that they’ll want to find out more.
Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite
By Barry Deutsch
Ages 10 & up.
November 2012, Abrams, ISBN 978-1-4197-0398-0
128 p., hc $18.95
The second volume starts exactly where the first left off. Mirka is grounded for sneaking out of the house all night to battle a troll in order to win a sword. She’s driving everyone nuts, knitting berets and practicing her sword skills with whatever sword-like object she can find. When Fruma, her stepmother, finally ungrounds her, Mirka immediately runs to find the troll and summons it so that she can practice with her newly won sword. But in the course of their conversation, Mirka lets it slip that it was the witch who told Mirka how to find the troll. Seeking revenge, the troll unfurls a ball of yarn to flood the witch’s house with chocolate pudding. Instead the troll summons a meteorite, which will flatten not only the witch’s house but all of Hereville.
Mirka runs to warn the witch and see if she can reverse the meteorite. The only thing the witch can do is stop it by turning the meteorite into something else… an exact double of Mirka. The meteorite (Mirka’s double) wants to step into Mirka’s life, and Mirka is getting the short end of the stick. The meteorite is going to school for Mirka, but she is also getting all of Mirka’s meals. She’s a sneaky thing… and Mirka’s next battle is to win her life back—however imperfect it is.
Deutsch does an excellent job bringing back all the characters from the previous volume and incorporating them into the new story, while adding a few more characters, like Mirka’s older married sister, to keep the story fresh.
Mirka is a spunky, lively character who will capture the reader’s imagination. She’s strong, smart, sensitive, and most important, she’s flawed, so readers will be able to relate. Readers will be looking to see how Mirka gets out of her latest predicament. Her young stepsister, Rochel, is also extremely likable. She’s not quite so pesky and not quite so naïve. Mirka is lucky to have her around. Fruma and the witch are also present, though in lesser roles, and their uncanny resemblance is still there, but nothing is mentioned about their relationship. I’m hoping there is a volume 3 that will uncover why these two look so much alike.
Once again the art and narrative work seamlessly to tell a complete story. The detailed panels and the variety of ways the panels are used add to the mood and pace of the story. From zooming onto particular areas, using different types of bubbles, Deutsch conveys urgency or frustration, depending on what was going on with the story.
Readers won’t be disappointed with this read. In fact, they’ll be looking forward to the next installment as much as I am.
This review is based on a complimentary Advanced Reading Copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Amulet Books.