The Holocaust through the eyes of a cat.
When Peter joins the Frank family in the Secret Annex, he brings his cat along and it is this cat, named Mouschi, who is the storyteller, narrating in a stylized voice. Mouschi is drawn to Anne and her diary, and unlike the people in hiding, he can explore the Amsterdam neighborhood where he sees “armed Black Spider Soldiers and Dogs patrol, snarl, bark.” The authors reference this description of the swastika to a line spoken by one of the von Trapp children in the movie The Sound of Music. In addition, Mouschi refers to Jews as “Yellow Stars,” which the authors deem “a fine feline fit.” Digitized ink, acrylic, and pencil illustrations use an intense blue for the hideout but present a colorful city and brightly lit nighttime windows, all this despite blackouts enforced during World War II. Brief but inspiring quotations from Anne’s diary are hand-lettered. The authors gloss over the exact horror of the deportations and killings even though, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 107,000 Jews were deported to concentration camps from the Netherlands, with 5,200 surviving. Or as the author’s note unfortunately says: “Many Jews were forced into labor or killed.”
Admiration for Anne’s writings is always good to see, but this fanciful cat’s-eye view minimizes the events and the systematic annihilation. (sources) (Picture book. 8-10)