Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Ida Vos & translated by Terese Edelstein & Inez Smidt

Age Range: 8 - 14

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-395-65368-1
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

 The author of the autobiographical novel Hide and Seek (1991), based on her own WW II experiences, again uses linked vignettes to evoke the painful difficulties, after the war, of resuming a normal life. Anna, 13, has just emerged from three years of hiding, during which she rarely spoke; she still imagines that a figure lurking behind a curtain in a nearby house is a Nazi, and she has nightmares fueled by the terrible things she knows her parents are keeping from her. The earliest scenes- -Father patiently coaxing Anna to speak loudly again; Anna discovering that the dreaded figure is actually Mrs. Neumann, another Jewish survivor, whose whole being is focused on the hope that her little daughter, Fannie, may be alive--are among the strongest and most telling. Others, depicting the prejudice still rife in Holland and the sometimes callous lack of sympathy for Jewish survivors, as well as the bitterness toward collaborators and the legal support available against racism, are vividly authentic. Weakest is Mrs. Neumann's reunion with Fannie; such miracles did occur, but this one seems contrived, while the focus wavers when it leaves Anna; moreover, the pain in parting Fannie and her foster parents is mentioned but not really addressed. Still, a compelling book, even stronger than its fine predecessor. (Fiction. 8-14)