Thursday, May 26, 2011


By Maurice Gleitzman
Henry Holt, 2010.198 pgs. Middle Grade Fiction

Ten-year-old Felix, a Jew, and six-year-old Zelda, the daughter of now-dece have escaped from a train heading to a death camp, but as they try to find a place to hide, one of the first things they encounter is a pit with a bunch of slaughtered Jewish children. Frightened and orphaned, the two agree that they'll be a new family and always stay together. They find shelter with a Polish woman, Genia, but Felix knows that simply by being Jewish, he puts Genia and Zelda in danger, and he tries to figure out what is best for his new family.

In the sequel to Once, Felix has become somewhat less naive, but still holds a child-like innocence that makes him a heart-breakingly real narrator. This is a beautifully written story about young people trying to hide during WWII, and if it doesn't choke you up a little bit, you probably don't have a heart.

5 stars.

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