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The Lost Spy and the Green Dress

Alex Paz-Goldman

AGE: 9-13

When Motti and Reuven, age 12, discover that a mysterious stranger has infiltrated their neighborhood, they’re sure that he’s a cunning, cruel spy and they don’t hesitate. They call on their detective skills acquired from adventure books that they love, and together with Aviva, Reuben’s pretty sister, they set out to stop the dangerous enemy. But the mission becomes more and more complicated.

The story takes place in Israel in the mid-1960s, when espionage affairs were rocking the country and setting people’s imaginations afire. But is the lonesome, skinny old man that the kids are following actually a spy? Slowly, another picture begins to emerge, one that is painful and nightmarish. A number of Holocaust survivors live in the neighborhood, and Motti himself is the son of a couple who lived through the Nazi era in Europe. His talkative father wants to talk about his experiences in the concentration camps, but his mother remains silent, bent over her sewing machine all the time. They both want their son to be a regular kid, a Sabra without any complexes. Surprisingly, the youngsters’ adventure deepens awareness of Motti’s family story and how the past affects life in the present.

The story of the “second generation” is told here in a way that it never has before. This is an entertaining, humorous and exciting book whose surprise ending reveals the olds wounds beneath Israeli life.

The Lost Spy and the Green Dress is the first book in a series.

Illustrations: Michel Kichka  





The Lost Spy and the Green Dress  by Alex Paz-Goldman demonstrates that profound and thought-provoking children’s literature that is also engrossing is sometimes produced here too ... The writer uses a detective-story plot to tell a far deeper tale … Paz-Goldman doesn’t tell a regular story and his manner of telling, as well as his talent, are superior to the run of the mill in this genre … I particularly enjoyed the mesmerizing way in which the writer describes childhood in a Ramat Gan neighborhood in the middle of the 1960s, a description through which he manages to convey an entire era. There’s a lot of courage in Goldman’s narrative technique … Do not miss this book.

Ronit Rokas, Achbar HaIr 


The Lost Spy and the Green Dress  undoubtedly meets the criteria for a work of art. A detective story that harnesses the dramatic effect of that genre and childhood joy in order to present additional layers, deeper and no less dramatic. The flow of the story, along with the lucid, convincing, humoristic and moving  portrayal of life in its complexities, make for the reading experience that is to be expected from a work that is so precise and enriching … The great success of Paz-Goldman lies in his ability to construct a story in a framework that is strong enough to contain sub-plots whose content is complex and difficult. Another reason is the delightful and convincing depiction of the way people lived in that era … The Lost Spy and the Green Dress is a decisive demonstration of the way that an entertaining, suspenseful adventure for young readers can also have many layers without being oppressive but rather can even make it soar, up to the peaks of fine writing.

Yotam Shwimmer, Ha-Pinkas 


The book is written with skill and humor … Worthwhile.

Yehiam Padan, 


Some of the children’s books that have appeared recently have been marked with the distinct features of literature that cleaves to the landscape of childhood … One of the best of these is The Lost Spy and the Green Dress … it reads flowingly, intriguingly.

Nira Levin, DafDaf 

Title The Lost Spy and the Green Dress
Author’s Last Name Paz-Goldman
Author's First Name Alex
Language(s) Hebrew
Genre youth
Publisher (Hebrew) Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2011
No. Pages 182 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ha-Meragel Ha-Avud Ve-Ha-Simla Ha-Yeruka
Representation Represented by ITHL

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