Review: The Upside-Down Boy and the Israeli Prime Minister

 The Upside-Down Boy and the Israeli Prime Minister

by Sherri Mandell, illustrated by Robert Dunn

Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner)

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Sandy Wasserman

We meet Daniel in this book, a boy who follows his own rhythms, and does not follow rules easily; he just can't behave. So when his class in Israel is headed for a field trip to the Prime Minister's office, his teacher is a bit concerned. He tries to be on his best behavior, but his body seems to do flips and topsy turvy actions all on its own. The comes the crucial moment; the prime minister's assistant shows the young visitors a series of portraits of former prime ministers including one of David Ben Gurion doing a headstand. Uh oh! Daniel immediately imitates the pose, to everyone's dismay. BUT, the assistant says it's OK! And he joins Daniel in a headstand telling him some great news: "Headstands are good training for being prime minister." For children who are often different, this book will be a great delight, and for everyone else, a little bit of history.
This is the perfect book for a young American child learning about Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben Gurion, and his penchant for headstands. When a family in the Diaspora visits Israel, they too can then visit Ben Gurion's house, see the iconic statue of Ben Gurion doing a headstand, and the child will recall his past knowledge from this sweet book.
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Reviewer Sandy Wasserman is a retired teacher of Gifted and Talented students, and taught for 35 years in both public schools and at a Solomon Schechter Day School. She's a wife, mother of two adult daughters, and grandmother to two fantastic 'first readers' of her manuscripts. Her published book, The Sun's Special Blessing [2009], was her first serendipitous and fun experience in the publishing world. She loves to read and swim, though not at the same time.