MERCEDES AND THE CHOCOLATE PILOT by Margo Theis Raven

MERCEDES AND THE CHOCOLATE PILOT

Age Range: 5 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Inspired by actual events, Raven (Angels in the Dust, 1996) recounts the story of a little girl in war-ravaged Germany and the American pilot who helped preserve her faith in human goodness. Frankenhuyzen’s (Adopted by an Owl, not reviewed, etc.) opening portrait reveals the devastation in postwar Berlin. On the next spread, Mercedes scolds her uncooperative chickens (“Tomorrow I want an egg from each of you”). With the constant drone of airplanes up above, Mercedes is sure they’re too scared to do what comes naturally; she, on the other hand, loves the planes—they deliver food and clothing to a city strangled by Stalin and the Russian blockade. Back inside her apartment—the exterior of which is punched with holes—Mercedes’s mother shares with her a newspaper article about “The Wonderful American Chocolate Pilot, Lt. Gail Halvorsen” and the “candy-filled parachutes” he provides for the local children. When Mercedes fails to catch a chocolate bar of her own, she writes the pilot and asks him to make a special delivery (“When you . . . see the white chickens, please drop some candy there and all will be ok”). Instead, he sends her sweets in the mail—and a letter. An author’s note fills in the historical facts; an epilogue tells of the reunion that took place between Mercedes and Mr. Halvorsen 22 years later and their enduring friendship. Lengthy front and back matter nearly outshines the narrative. Still, Raven’s uplifting account imparts a positive humanitarian message. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: June 15th, 2002
ISBN: 1-58536-069-4
Page count: 40pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2002




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