WHISTLING IN THE DARK by Shirley Hughes

WHISTLING IN THE DARK

Age Range: 9 - 14
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Schoolgirl Joan Armitage is trying to adjust to life in her suburb near Liverpool in 1940, when everyone tries to carry on a normal life despite nightly air raids on the Liverpool docks by the Luftwaffe.

Joan’s father, a wireless operator on an oil tanker, was lost in the mid-Atlantic when his ship caught fire and sank, and she knows quite a few girls at school who have lost a father or brother in the war, too. Now Joan’s mother, brother, and two sisters are just getting by. Hughes’ matter-of-fact third-person narrative details how, despite the dangers of wartime, daily life can be boring, made bearable by friends, school life, an occasional movie, American music on the radio, and chores such as collecting salvage. While her previous World War II novel, Hero on a Bicycle (2013), offered the excitement of an occupied city (Florence) with a resistance movement, Joan’s comparatively uneventful life is not without intrigue: who is that mysterious man Joan has seen in her yard? What’s the story behind the new Polish girl in school? Why has Capt. Ronnie Harper Jones begun hanging around Joan’s house, and how does he always manage to bring parcels of goodies? Aside from Polish Ania, the book’s diversity does not extend much past Anglican Joan’s Catholic and Jewish classmates.

A fine war novel about living life despite trying circumstances. (Historical fiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-7636-9072-4
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2017




MORE BY SHIRLEY HUGHES

ChildrenRUBY IN THE RUINS by Shirley Hughes
by Shirley Hughes
ChildrenDAISY SAVES THE DAY by Shirley Hughes
by Shirley Hughes
ChildrenHERO ON A BICYCLE by Shirley Hughes
by Shirley Hughes

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

ChildrenTHE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
ChildrenTHE BICYCLE SPY by Yona Zeldis McDonough
by Yona Zeldis McDonough
ChildrenGENEVIEVE'S WAR by Patricia Reilly Giff
by Patricia Reilly Giff