Monday, June 15, 2020

70. Stranger Danger

Mr. Mensch and His Magical Meshugenahmobile: Stranger Danger. David Michael Slater. Illustrated by Michelle Simpson. 2020. 66 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Asher, Ezra, Benjy, Sadi, Zara, and Abi all stood in the hallway. They were great friends and thrilled to see each other after a long summer break.

Premise/plot: Six friends are turned off by the idea of a new student joining their Sunday School class. They send her out the door without a second thought. But their new teacher, Mr. Mensch, who is dressed up as the Statue of Liberty challenges them to rethink the situation. The kids--and teacher--set off on an adventure aboard the Magical Meshugenahmobile. (Think the show The Cat In the Hat Knows All About That). Their adventure will take them back in time--to a summer day in 1903--to Ellis Island where they will witness the arrival of a new ship of immigrants. Will the poem by Emma Lazarus convince these kids to be more welcoming and accepting?

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. It is a children's chapter book. The class the students are taking is a Jewish Ethics class. The framework of the story is that of teaching morals and ethics literally to children characters. The book includes discussion questions geared towards a specific audience--Jewish children. I'm not sure if that's because they can't imagine non-Jewish children reading it or if the author/publisher is primarily seeking a Jewish target? Regardless, I enjoyed reading this one.

© 2020 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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