True and powerful in its simplicity.

THE STORY OF BODRI

A young girl is “a happy child in a happy place” until everything changes.

Hédi lives in a little town in Hungary with her parents, her sister, Livia, and her dog, Bodri. She shares secrets and fun with her best friend, Marika. Hédi is Jewish and Marika is Christian, and that has not made a difference in their friendship. When Hitler’s frightening, hate-filled voice is heard, Hédi’s parents try to reassure the children. But the soldiers come and bring a new reality. “Hitler hated me and my family because we were Jewish.” Restrictions force Hédi’s family to stay indoors, always hoping things would get better, but of course they never did. They’re rounded up and put on a train for the camps. Dreaming of Bodri throughout her captivity keeps Hédi from total despair as the many months pass. Her parents are gone; she and her sister, their heads shaved, are hungry, cold, and filthy. The sisters survive and are miraculously reunited with faithful Bodri. In a brief introduction, Fried warns that her story is difficult for her to tell, but readers must listen. She speaks to a young audience in carefully chosen language, skillfully translated from Swedish by Schenck, telling just enough of the horrors to help them to a modicum of understanding in the hope that they will always choose good over evil. Wirsén’s liquid watercolors perfectly invoke that time and place and its emotional upheaval. Never again.

True and powerful in its simplicity. (Picture book/memoir. 6-12)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5565-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit...

NUMBER THE STARS

The author of the Anastasia books as well as more serious fiction (Rabble Starkey, 1987) offers her first historical fiction—a story about the escape of the Jews from Denmark in 1943.

Five years younger than Lisa in Carol Matas' Lisa's War (1989), Annemarie Johansen has, at 10, known three years of Nazi occupation. Though ever cautious and fearful of the ubiquitous soldiers, she is largely unaware of the extent of the danger around her; the Resistance kept even its participants safer by telling them as little as possible, and Annemarie has never been told that her older sister Lise died in its service. When the Germans plan to round up the Jews, the Johansens take in Annemarie's friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is their daughter; later, they travel to Uncle Hendrik's house on the coast, where the Rosens and other Jews are transported by fishing boat to Sweden. Apart from Lise's offstage death, there is little violence here; like Annemarie, the reader is protected from the full implications of events—but will be caught up in the suspense and menace of several encounters with soldiers and in Annemarie's courageous run as courier on the night of the escape. The book concludes with the Jews' return, after the war, to homes well kept for them by their neighbors.

A deftly told story that dramatizes how Danes appointed themselves bodyguards—not only for their king, who was in the habit of riding alone in Copenhagen, but for their Jews. (Historical fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 1989

ISBN: 0547577095

Page Count: 156

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1989

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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