cover image Puppet


Eva Wiseman, . . Tundra, $17.95 (243pp) ISBN 978-0-88776-828-6

An infamous late-19th-century trial in Hungary serves as the basis for Wiseman's (My Canary Yellow Star ) dramatic novel, which introduces the anti-Semitic propaganda of blood libel. When Julie's best friend, Esther, disappears, only Julie, the narrator, looks to Esther's life for clues. Everyone else in her small village rushes to accuse the even smaller community of Jews—the villagers know that Jews use the blood of Christian children to make “their Easter bread.” As Julie's efforts to offer evidence are silenced with threats (by her father and others), village officials coerce a “Jew boy” into false testimony. The author levers Julie into key positions in the plot too neatly, and the history does not run deep—readers won't get a sense for the roots of anti-Semitism in Hungary. These shortcomings notwithstanding, the book offers a valuable look at a historical phenomenon that contemporary readers would find difficult to comprehend; the subject matter will compel their attention. Ages 11–up. (Jan.)