Review: Adventure Girl: Dabi Digs in Israel

 Adventure Girl: Dabi Digs in Israel

written & illustrated by Janice Hechter

Alazar Press

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Karin Fisher-Golton

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Adventure Girl: Dabi Digs in Israel, written and illustrated by Janice Hechter, offers a rare picture book peek at a child’s participation in an archaeological dig in Israel. Dabi enjoys outdoor activities in the dirt, despite her parents’ ideas that this makes her a “tomboy” or not “a little lady.” While visiting Israel, Dabi overhears her aunt call her an “adventure girl,” a term she embraces. The same aunt gives Dabi an opportunity to help dig at an archaeological site, where Dabi finds an ancient ring. When Dabi is awarded recognition for this find, her parents see value in her outdoor accomplishment. 

Hechter’s language is rich with sound and fun to read aloud. That and the excellent topic make it worth overlooking the dated language described above, some forced exposition (for example when her mother asks Dabi to “go back inside your grandparents’ house”), and the limited insight into what Dabi’s archaeological experience means to her. Dabi’s parents’ growth arc is satisfying, as is the fact that Dabi gets the last word in the end, not allowing others to define her. 

The detailed illustrations provide a good sense of what an archaeological site looks like. Dabi is beautifully rendered—an active girl who sometimes gets dirt on her clothes. While the parents are skillfully rendered as well, their often exaggerated poses can be jarring in the otherwise realistic pictures and contribute to taking the focus off of Dabi. But most importantly the illustrations show Dabi’s joy in a variety of activities involving dirt and mud.

Adventure Girl: Dabi Digs in Israel provides a look at archaeological digs in modern-day Israel and introduces some basic Hebrew words. It fills a need well and will be enjoyed by many families, both for its setting and for its welcome term, “adventure girl.”

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Reviewer Karin Fisher-Golton is a freelance children’s book editor and the author of the board book My Amazing Day: A Celebration of Wonder and Gratitude; retellings of folktales for a reading program; and poems in several anthologies. She is a member of the Board of Advisors for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Read more about her work at