THE BOY FROM OVER THERE by Tamar Bergman

THE BOY FROM OVER THERE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Soon after WW II, Avramik's uncle brings him--shy, withdrawn, and eternally hungry--to a kibbutz in the Jordan Valley. The others in the children's house are slow to accept Avramik, even though they are aware of his grim experiences hiding in Poland during the war and his grief at the loss of his parents. Cousin Rami, especially, begrudges his father's affection for Avramik; only Rina, whose father has also not returned, befriends him from the first. But in 1948, when the children's truck is bombed while they are being evacuated, it is Avramik who leads them to safety. Bergman's book was chosen Best Children's Book in Israel in 1984. It gives a real sense of its setting through such portrayals as the mixed emotions of loving parents and children required to live separately on the Kibbutz; Arab and Israeli children throwing stones and insults at one another across a river (the Arabs throw better because, as shepherds, they use stones to ward off jackals); and the compassion and tact needed for sharing daily life with recent survivors of the Holocaust. Characterization isn't deep, yet relationships are believable, from the kids' good-natured bickering to Rami's remorse after heckling Avramik. There's plenty of action and a sense of community that may be unfamiliar to American readers. As expected, the point of view is pro-Israeli, but there is one good Arab and a sense that peace is the ultimate goal. Well-told, and valuable for its authentic setting.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1988
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin