THE WHISPERING TOWN by Jennifer Elvgren

THE WHISPERING TOWN

Age Range: 5 - 8

KIRKUS REVIEW

Residents of a small town in Nazi-occupied Denmark work together to provide a hidden Jewish mother and son safe passage to neutral Sweden.

“New friends” are being harbored in Anett’s dark basement for two nights. Though afraid, she allows their whispering voices to lead her down the stairs. Anett brings food from her mother’s kitchen and books from the library until the boy and his mother can secretly board a fishing boat that will cross over to Sweden. Most of Anett’s daily encounters with neighbors and shopkeepers show that the townsfolk support Anett’s family in their dangerous effort. When the Nazis begin to search houses each night, the situation becomes even more perilous for Anett’s family, and her father determines that they must be taken to the harbor despite the obscuring clouds. Without moonlight, the Jews are beckoned from door to door, guided only by whispering voices—“This way”—that indicate the route to safety. The direct simplicity of the story’s telling serves well as an introduction for younger children to the Holocaust. Dark cartoon sketches reminiscent of Tomi Ungerer in opaque black, blues, grays and khaki green markers and word bubbles with the key words of direction paint the ominous atmosphere.

This uncomplicated narrative of Danish resistance will facilitate teaching and discussion of a difficult yet necessary subject. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4677-1194-4
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Kar-Ben
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2014




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