Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"It's Called a Swastika"

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
by Judith Kerr

Genre; Children's/Depression/Fiction
Publisher; Harper Collins/London/2002
Pages; 240

Plot; Anna is only young when her parents, her older brother and her move from Berlin to Zurich. They are a German Jewish family and Hitler has just pushed his way into Government, leaving them with no choice but to flee what would soon become a dangerous situation.

In Zurich the family forms friendships with other families and the children attend school and come to enjoy their new lives, but it isn't long before the family's savings have dwindled and they are forced to move to Paris so that their father can search for more work.

My Thoughts; This was a beautiful read. Told from young Anna's point of view, this book is a fantastic read for any child learning about world history.

We are all familiar with The Diary of Anne Frank which, although it is a moving and powerful, is heart-breaking. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is told from another side of such a distressing time, and that is the side of one of the lucky ones who left Germany in time to escape the devastating atrocities which followed.

What I really loved about this book was the way in which Kerr describes smells. One such example is the "scent of Paris"; garlic, French cigarettes, coffee and fresh baked bread. Each place that Anna visits we get this wonderful description of the aromas she experiences and it was as though I could smell Paris too.

One nice touch is Kerr's small drawings throughout the book. At the beginning of each chapter Kerr has done a small illustration, usually of something within that chapter. As I read I found that the best thing was to finish the chapter and then look back at the little pictures because they mean so much more then.

As I said earlier, I think this would be a great read for any child studying world history, particularly those who have read The Diary of Anne Frank because I think it would compliment it brilliantly. It is simply written and describes people, events, places without going overboard with the imagery.

However, this book is not only for children. It is a book which makes you laugh, cry and get angry and it would be a gem of an addition to any library.

Happy Reading!

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