Of potential interest as curriculum support, this treatment requires advanced reading skills (or a grown-up) and a basic...

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REVOLUTIONARY FRIENDS

GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON AND THE MARQUIS DE LAFAYETTE

This effort to illuminate and explicate the affectionate relationship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette, as well as its impact on United States history, is enthusiastic but perhaps ambitious for the format.

The body of the work is presented as an illustrated narrative with interjections expressing Lafayette’s point of view; focusing on a short period of time, it is relatively straightforward. Moved by news of the American Revolution, the young Marquis slips out of France at the age of 19 and sails to the New World to offer his services to Washington’s army. Only tolerated at first (because earlier émigrés had not left a positive impression), Lafayette shows his mettle in the battle of Brandywine and forges a lifelong personal bond with the general he so admires. Castrovilla writes in a heightened, emotive voice punctuated by exclamations in French. Extensive backmatter provides additional details including, among other things, a description of the continuing connection between the two men, chronological outlines of their lives, a list of French phrases found in the text, a bibliography and a list of relevant historical sites. Kozjan’s illustrations, pen and ink with digital color, reflect the action of the text effectively for the most part, though awkwardly drawn figures, both human and animal, and odd expressions distract in some cases.

Of potential interest as curriculum support, this treatment requires advanced reading skills (or a grown-up) and a basic understanding of the historical context. (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59078-880-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

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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 richly detailed account of a little-known event in World War II.

LIFEBOAT 12

An escape from war-torn Britain becomes a struggle for survival when a ship is torpedoed off the coast of England.

In June 1940, Great Britain formed the Children’s Overseas Reception Board to transfer Britain’s children away from the encroaching war to safe harbors around the world. Over 200,000 children between the ages of 5 and 15 applied for just 20,000 spots. Thirteen-year-old Kenneth Sparks is chosen to travel on the City of Benares, a luxury ocean liner, to Canada, where he will live with his aunt in Edmonton. The children are distracted by rich food, new toys, and soft beds, but the accompanying convoy of war ships is a constant reminder that while the blitzkrieg might be behind them, German torpedoes are a very present threat. Three days into their voyage, the Benares is hit, sending crew and passengers into the lifeboats and the water. Ken, along with a handful of others, all white except 32 Asian sailors of varied ethnicity (called Lascars at the time), must survive with little water, food, or shelter if they are to make it out alive. Told in verse, the story of Lifeboat 12 is lyrical, terrifying, and even at times funny. Hood makes effective use of line breaks and punctuation to wrap readers up in Ken’s tale. Copious research, including interviews with the real Ken Sparks, went into the making of this fictional recasting of a true story of survival. Backmatter offers further information, including the racism experienced by the Lascars.

A richly detailed account of a little-known event in World War II. (Historical verse fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6883-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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