It’s exciting when a German plane crashes near Peter Dixon’s town, but is it right to help a wounded enemy soldier when your own father is off at war fighting the Germans?
“They’re all the same! They’re killers! Murderers!” That’s the sentiment regarding the Germans in Peter’s English village. But when Peter and his friend Kim come face to face with the missing German pilot, it’s no longer so easy to hold such strong convictions, especially when he’s hurt and in need of help. Is it right to help the enemy? Getting to know Erik becomes a lesson in empathy for Peter and Kim. Hiding and helping Erik feels right, but it’s complicated: Doing the right things means doing a lot of wrong things, such as stealing food and lying. But they hide him, feed him, clean his cuts and bandage his arm, and in the process become friends. Besides, Peter enjoys being with a girl, and Erik becomes their shared object of concern. Smith’s simply written debut novel, related from Peter’s first-person point of view, takes readers inside Peter’s head and delineates his moral dilemma, his sadness over his missing father and his growing affection for Kim.
Bombing raids, a crashing German plane and an encounter with a Nazi soldier—what could be more exciting? (Historical fiction. 8-14)