Book Review | Mendel’s Accordion
by Heidi Smith Hyde

Score: 5

This is an exceptional picture book. While providing another version of a Jewish immigrant’s journey from Russia to America, it also describes the rebirth of Klezmer music as it occurred in one family. This is the story of Mendel and his accordion providing music to his community then joining up with other musicians to form a group know as the “klezmorim.”  Mendel must ultimately leave Russia, along with his accordion. On the ship, he finds other musicians and once again forms a “klezmorim.” Once in America, he finds a job, and builds a family while his accordion collects dust in the attic.  Then one day, his great-grandson finds the accordion, learns to play and starts a Klezmer band.  The story is concise and well-told.  The illustrations are beautiful, engaging and expressive.

The most exciting fact for me, however, is that KarBen (now a division of Lerner Publishing Group) publishes this book. The level of professionalism in the artwork and writing, combined with excellent quality bookbinding shows me that KarBen made the right decision in joining with Lerner. I only wish they had included a CD of Klezmer music with the book, but librarians or teachers can provide that during story time which would make an excellent addition to this read-aloud tale.

I highly recommend this book as a great addition to all Jewish library collections.

Grade Level: K-3

One Response to “Mendel’s Accordion”

  1. Thanks for the kind words, Kathy! Watch for a new book from Heidi and Johanna this Spring!

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