THE BROTHERS GRIMM

TWO LIVES, ONE LEGACY

Hettinga (Presenting Madeline L’Engle, 1993) lays the intertwined careers of Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm against a turbulent backdrop of Napoleonic invasions, civil unrest, and family misfortunes. He presents them as a pair of librarian/scholars who, despite (some) differences of temperament and interest, lived together for nearly their entire lives, achieving not only international renown for their researches into language and folk literature, but local notoriety as two of the “Göttingen Seven,” a group of professors fired for refusing to take a loyalty oath to an autocratic new king. Though the author is guilty of tucking in a few too many minor details—a wallpaper pattern, a menu, a certain glass coffin that turns out not to be the inspiration for the one in “Snow White”—his account of how the Grimms collected their tales through “tricks and trades, gifts and gatherings” makes fascinating reading. An annotated list of books by and about the brothers helps to compensate for a stingy assortment of illustrations and a long, superfluous list of fairy tale titles. Like Brust’s The Amazing Paper Cuttings of Hans Christian Andersen (1994), this makes absorbing reading for folktale fans interested in the story behind the Stories. (afterword, source notes, picture credits, timeline) (Biography. 12-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-618-05599-1

Page Count: 173

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2001

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AT HOME WITH THE PRESIDENTS

At Home With The Presidents (176 pp.; $12.95; Sept. 24; 0-471-25300-6) Morris offers succinct biographical information and anecdotes about all 41 presidents with brief information about homes they grew up it, historic sites dedicated to them, or libraries in which their artifacts are housed. Included are small pictures of the presidents and some of the buildings discussed. Readers will find the book of limited use for research, since the sources for quotations are not given, there is no index, and material considered controversial is not attributed. Appearing out of context are statements such as “George Washington adored his older brother” and “George’s mother was jealous of the two brother’s relationship.” The information on historic sites is upbeat but bland, and could have come right out of tourist brochures. (b&w photographs, illustrations, further reading) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 1999

ISBN: 0-471-25300-6

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Wiley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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Lyrical writing focuses on the aftermath of the Holocaust, a vital, underaddressed aspect of survivor stories.

BOY FROM BUCHENWALD

THE TRUE STORY OF A HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR

Following his liberation from the Buchenwald death camp, Romek didn’t know how to reclaim his humanity.

Romek’s childhood in his Polish shtetl of Skarżysko-Kamienna, where he was the youngest of six loving siblings, wasn’t wealthy, but it was idyllic. Skarżysko-Kamienna was “forests and birdsong,” with “the night sky stretching from one end of the horizon to the other.” His family was destroyed and their way of life obliterated with the Nazi invasion of Poland, and Romek lost not just memories, but the accompanying love. Unlike many Holocaust memoirs, this painfully lovely story begins in earnest after the liberation, when Romek was among 1,000 Jewish orphans, the Buchenwald Boys, in need of rehabilitation. Having suffered years of starvation, disease, and being treated as animals, the boys were nearly feral: They fought constantly, had forgotten how to use forks, and set fire to their French relief camp dormitory. Some adults thought they were irredeemable. With endless patience, care, and love, the mentors and social workers around them—themselves traumatized Holocaust survivors—brought Romek back from the brink. Even in a loving and protective environment, in a France where the boys were treated overwhelmingly kindly by the populace, it took time to remember goodness. Parallels between anti-Semitism and racism in the U.S. and Canada are gentle but explicit.

Lyrical writing focuses on the aftermath of the Holocaust, a vital, underaddressed aspect of survivor stories. (historical note, timeline) (Memoir. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0600-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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