THE WINTER WHEN TIME WAS FROZEN by Els Pelgrom

THE WINTER WHEN TIME WAS FROZEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Though temporarily displaced from her Holland home, 11-year-old Noortje experienced the last year of World War II from a safer distance than did other children whose restructured memories have become available to us. Bombs fall near the farmhouse where she and her father have been taken in by the good and generous Everingen family; a young former resistance worker hiding upstairs is wracked by consumption and unwilling to risk a doctor's visit; German soldiers are twice quartered in the barn; and a young Jewish family the Everingens have been hiding in the woods disappears, undoubtedly hauled off by German soldiers. But Noortje, who has helped deliver the doomed family's baby in their secret burrow, has since taken over the infant's care and now has little Sarah as her very own. The Everingens' son is a companion she delights in. The German soldiers, many of them very young by this time, are less brutal enemies than frightened boys, and even the hated officers are semi-accommodating toward the farmers. The Everingen household, stretched now to include another displaced family, remains intact, and is characterized by a warmth that makes Noortje cry to see the war end and everyone depart--the homeless to their homes and Sarah, to Noortje's desolation, to America with a surviving uncle. There have been stronger memories of the period; but from the urine smell, a product of their mongoloid child, in the Everingen kitchen to the oddity of a new name made up ""just like that"" for a German deserter they will feed but not keep, Pelgrom projects Noortje's experiences with a child's perception--giving the novel that sharp, true quality that seems to characterize such memoirs (Baer's, below, among them) and evade most juvenile novels of contemporary American life.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1981
Publisher: Morrow