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The Broken Mirror

The Broken Mirror

5.0 2
by Kirk Douglas, Jenny Vasilyev (Illustrator), Jenny Vasilyev (Illustrator)
Growing up in Munich in the 1930's, young Moishe loves to hear his sister, Rachel, read him his favorite story: a fairy tale about an evil mirror broken and scattered by Satan. He wonders whether shards of that mirror, which have the power to turn people's hearts to ice, still exist. A few years later, when the Nazis imprison his family in a concentration camp, he


Growing up in Munich in the 1930's, young Moishe loves to hear his sister, Rachel, read him his favorite story: a fairy tale about an evil mirror broken and scattered by Satan. He wonders whether shards of that mirror, which have the power to turn people's hearts to ice, still exist. A few years later, when the Nazis imprison his family in a concentration camp, he knows that they do.

By the end of the war, Moishe is the only one of his family still alive, and he no longer wants to be Jewish. He tells the AMerican liberators he is a Gypsy named Danny and i sent to a Catholic orphanage. WHen his best friend at the orphanage is adopted, Moishe is unable to bear yet another loss in his short life. He runs away. Yet when all seems utterly hopeless, he learns that the light of Sabbath candles is warm enough to melt the ice that has formed in his own heart.

In this moving story of a young boy's flight from his past, legendary actor and acclaimed author Kirk Douglas reminds us that sometimes we must embrace our most painful memories to uncover a brighter future. He tells a timeless tale of loss of faith and its recovery.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
One of the more egregious examples of celebrity publishing, this relentlessly melodramatic and clich-ridden novel sets out to explore one boy's experience of the Holocaust. In the first of many unconvincing and/or under-researched episodes, Moishe is six when he and his father, a mathematics professor in Munich, are almost killed on Kristallnacht; until then Moishe has been apparently unaware of Nazis and his parents blind to their precarious positions as Jews (never mind the passage of the Nuremberg Laws in 1935 or Munich's prominence in Hitler's rise to power). Moishe's family runs away to the country, where they are later betrayed by the hired hand at the very moment they decide to escape to Switzerland. The family is incarcerated in a concentration camp (complete, again unconvincingly, with crematorium, execution squads and tattoos) that is located in Trieste, of all places; Moishe's parents die and his sister and her boyfriend are killed just as the camp is being liberated. The rest of the book concerns Moishe's temporary rejection of his Judaism and his improbable placement in a Catholic orphanage in Syracuse, N.Y., where, in suitably cinematic fashion, he finds his way back to his own faith. With the availability of so many powerful and heartfelt accounts of the Holocaust (including Memories of Anne Frank and The Beautiful Days of My Youth, both reviewed below), it's hard to imagine why young readers should be offered such hollow fare. Ages 8-up. (Sept.)
VOYA - Delia Culberson
Hans Christian Andersen's tale about Satan's mirror is the favorite bedtime story of young Moishe, a Jewish boy in 1930s Germany who sees his happy life vanish when his entire family is exterminated during the Nazis' persecution of the Jews. He ends up in a concentration camp and when the war ends is liberated by American troops. Feeling he must deny his Jewish identity to survive, Moishe claims to be "Danny," a Gypsy boy. He is sent to a Catholic orphanage in New York, where he is cared for adequately but lacks real affection. In Andersen's mythical tale, Satan creates a mirror with powers that make all that is good and beautiful look ugly, and everything bad and hideous is magnified. On a flight toward heaven to mock God and his angels, Satan and his devils drop the mirror, shattering it into a billion fragments that pierce people's eyes or hearts, making them see evil or turning their hearts into blocks of ice. After long years of suffering, Moishe feels that his heart, too, is now frozen. His only attachment is to Roy, a young and frail orphan for whom he feels sorry and who depends on Moishe for companionship and protection against orphanage bullies. When Roy is adopted, Moishe, in utter despair at yet another loss in his life, runs away from the orphanage. How he chances to meet other Jews; finds a family that greets him with open arms; regains his Jewish faith and identity; and reunites with Roy makes for a truly heartwarming conclusion to this absorbing story. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7Historical facts are presented with a heavy hand throughout this story about Moishe and his family. The disparate reactions of Jews to what is happening in Germany in 1939 is clearly represented by the boy's mother's assurance that these "hooligans" (the Nazis) will soon go away, his father's caution in relocating the family to a farm, and their neighbors' exodus from the country. Characters are two-dimensional, except for Moishe, who is only slightly more fleshed out. His older sister is angelic even to the point of her understanding response to her family's betrayal by the German handyman who is responsible for their removal to a concentration camp. Moishe is the only family member to survive; he is rescued and winds up in a Catholic orphanage in the United States after denying that he is Jewish. Conveniently, the story ends with him finding his Jewish identity once again as he wanders into a synagogue and is miraculously taken in and ultimately adopted by the rabbi and his family. This book is far too contrived and peopled with representational characters to compete with the many fine Holocaust stories such as Ida Vos's Hide and Seek (1991), Anna Is Still Here (1993), and Dancing on the Bridge of Avignon (1995, all Houghton), and Renee Roth-Hano's autobiographical Touch Wood (Puffin, 1989).Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.63(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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The Broken Mirror 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just read the other reviews, and I couldn't agree more! I love to read as well as write stories about boys, so I read this one and I'm glad I did! Kirk Douglas has always been one of my favorite actors, but fell in love with him again, you might say, when I read it for the first time. I loved Danny's character, and the relationship with his sister was also moving! I never had a sister but if I had one, (especially if she was older) I think I could get used to having one just like her. If you think that this is JUST a kids novel, think again I'm twenty-two, and I still like to read it! Thanks Mr. Douglas! you gave the world more than just great movies, you gave us a very heart- wormming novel!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book. It was a quick easy read, and was the best book! I have read it twice and loved it each time. It has to do with WWII, and it was a little sad. Hopefully you will get the chance to read it to!