An absolutely beautiful story that penetrates the heart and seeds hope when there is little of it.

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THE DAY WAR CAME

This gracefully written poem conveys the extensive amount of suffering that war brings.

A girl with brown skin and black hair who lives in a city enjoys her day, spending the morning with her family, then learning about volcanoes and drawing a bird at school. Then war suddenly erupts: “I can’t say the words that tell you / about the blackened hole / that had been my home. / All I can say is this: / War took everything. / War took everyone.” The child runs, walks in the cold, rides on packed trucks and in a boat that nearly sinks, but the war follows her: “It was underneath my skin…. / It was in the way that people didn’t smile, and turned away.” She finds a school where children are learning about volcanoes and drawing birds, but when she goes inside, the teacher says there is no chair for her. In an unexpected turn of events, the children of the school redraw the smile on the girl’s face and push back the war, one step at a time. Cobb’s muted, deceptively childlike illustrations match the poem’s understatement. An early spread of the gray, smoky chaos that destroys the girl’s world is echoed in a late spread as she huddles alone in an unwelcoming place. Both an afterword by the author and the illustrations suggest that the protagonist may be from Syria or Iraq and sought refuge in the U.K., but the story is, alas, more broadly universal.

An absolutely beautiful story that penetrates the heart and seeds hope when there is little of it. (Picture book. 6-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0173-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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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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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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