Review: Jacob and the Mandolin Adventure

 Jacob and the Mandolin Adventure

by Anne Dublin

Second Story Press

Category: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Kathy Bloomfield

Friendship, mandolins, and adventure are at the heart of this novel based on a true story. Jacob endures many hardships as an orphan in Mezritsh, Poland, but finds solace in participating in the orphanage’s mandolin orchestra. When given the opportunity to leave Poland to be educated at a Canadian Jewish Farm School outside of Toronto, he jumps at the chance. The children and their chaperones travel hours by train and weeks by ship, to arrive at their destination. While the journey is exciting, and not without its perils, they arrive in Canada and adapt to life at the Farm School. The story culminates in a promised trip to play mandolin at Carnegie Hall in New York.

This is a well-written, well-researched historical novel about a unique event in Jewish history, and while not a Holocaust story, per se, those dark times will shadow the reader with thoughts of what might have happened had these children not left Poland. Historical Notes at the back of the book provide additional information about Mezritsh, the Mezritsh Orphanage, and biographies of the real people mentioned in the book. A listing of the Sources consulted is provided.

(This review has been adapted from an AJL News & Reviews article) 

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Reviewer Kathy Bloomfield is the President of the Association of Jewish Libraries. She is working hard during the COVID-19 pandemic to upgrade her long dormant website, She lives in Seal Beach, CA.