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Children's LiteratureThe mythical village of Chelm was said to contain the wisest of people, except that no one else understood or appreciated their wisdom, which looked suspiciously like foolishness to the rest of the world. Where else would you find people who interpreted "drawing straws" in order to come to a decision as creating paintings using straws as brushes? In any case, the Chelmites in this story are determined to travel to the great city of Warsaw and find some way in which to erase their reputation as fools. Rachel stows away in the wagon and, in true heroine fashion, finds the answer by bringing back a borrowed book from the Warsaw library. The tale deviates from tradition in so many ways it's not possible to flag them all; suffice it to say that girls of that era in Eastern Europe didn't read, especially books called Detective Deborah and the Mysterious Case of the Pickled Herring, Rachel's choice to while away the long hours of the trip to the city. Nor did villages look remotely like Ungar's screamingly painted pages of orange, neon blue, lime green and sunshine yellow. However, if one is willing to suspend judgment and enjoy a story that supports books and the art of reading, this will fill the bill. 2004, Tundra Books, Ages 5 to 8.