In the LA Times, Sonja Bolle confesses that she’s never really liked graphic novels, but says that she’s now fallen in love with one for the first time. Yay!
The first tickle in “Hereville,” for me, came from the Yiddish words sprinkled throughout the text, which are marked with an asterisk and translated at the bottom of the page. Yiddish, a singularly nuanced and expressive language, lends itself to translation at many levels of speech; Deutsch introduces a new level, which I would call “comic-book speak,” so that “oy gevalt!” (a cry of suffering or frustration) becomes “sheesh!” It’s a perfect translation — le mot juste, indeed.
Deutsch elegantly explains the special atmosphere of shabbos (the sabbath) in Jewish tradition. The adventure in the story comes skidding to a halt at sundown on Friday night, because “troll killing, Mirka understood, was not a Shabbos thing.” For several pages, the pictures take on a leisurely pace, while the family lights candles, sings, prays, naps. But the moment “uvdin d’chol” — the weekday things — resume, Mirka is back at her mission. “Fruma, how do I kill a troll?” she asks her stepmother. […]
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but put the right few pictures together with the right thousand words, and you’ve got a great graphic novel…
This is my first review in a really major newspaper, that I know of! Very neat. Hard to believe, actually. Plus, I’m glad she singled out the “sheesh!” translation, which is one of my favorite jokes in the entire book.