Thursday, October 25, 2012

Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison

Title:  Indian Captive:  The Story of Mary Jemison
Author:  Lois Lenski
Approximate independent reading level:  8th grade

Summary:  Almost twenty years before the Revolutionary War, the Jemison family lived on the frontier of America.  Mary, also called Molly, lives in a log cabin with her parents and five siblings.  Although some of the neighbors have decided to return east because of worry about the Indians, Molly's father is sure his family is safe enough and plans on staying to plant his corn.  But the Indians arrive the next morning and take most of the family captive, although the two older brothers are able to escape to tell the neighbors.  Molly and a young neighbor boy are separated from the rest of their families and hurried away by one group of Indians.  She is taken to live with a tribe of Seneca Indians to replace a tribe member who was killed.  The story that follows describes her first year with the Senecas, as she attempts to escape, learns their rituals, and tries to discover how or even whether a white girl can live with the Indians.

Review:  Molly Jemison actually lived, and the events in this story actually happened, although the author does take some liberties with timing.  The author is authentic to Seneca culture and to Molly's experience.  I think this could be an interesting as well as an informative read on the Seneca Indians and on what it might be like to be completely alone in a strange place with strange people, ripped from family.
****  Four stars

Monday, October 8, 2012

If You Give series

Titles:  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie; If You Give a Moose a Muffin; If You Give a Pig a Pancake; If You Take a Mouse to School; If You Give a Pig a Party
Author:  Laura Numeroff
Illustrator:  Felicia Bond

Summary:  There are five books in this cute little series.  Each starts with a child engaging in the title activity, which seems to be simple and straightforward.  But each begins a chain of events that is as funny as it is both exhausting and messy, and which eventually runs full circle.  

Review:  I don't remember which of these books I first found on the bookshelf of the daycare or home I was working at, but I do remember thoroughly enjoying it.  So when I found a boxed set with more books than I was aware of on the shelf at a local secondhand children's shop for just a few dollars, I just couldn't resist buying it.  The story lines are simple and easy to follow, while also providing an opportunity to engage young children.  "What do you think will happen next?" can be asked often throughout these stories, as well as "What would you do if . . .?" This second question can be asked both in reference to the child in the story or in reference to the animal (If someone gave you a cookie, what would you want to go with it?)  
The pictures are beautifully done, without unnecessary details, but still allowing for engaging reading.  For example, in If You Give a Pig a Party, a hide-and-seek scene suggests a game of "Can you find Pig and her friends?"  
Well-drawn pictures and a catchy, repetitive storyline work together to make these books great read-alongs for young children.  I give them all four stars.

Bonus:  Guess who two of the guests are at Pig's party.  :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

11 Birthdays

I apologize again for another late post, but this one comes with good reason--I started a new job last week.  I will do my best to keep up with postings, but please understand that helping to support my family must come first.

Title:  11 Birthdays
Author:   Wendy Mass
Target Audience:  Upper Elementary
Approximate Independent Reading Level:  7th grade

Summary:  Leo and Amanda were born on the same day, but they're not twins.  In fact, they're not related at all.  But sharing a birthday is the beginning of a story that leads to their becoming best friends--at least for awhile.  But when a fight leads to magical problems, they must work together to solve a problem bigger than they could have ever imagined.

Review:  This story is fantasy, with an element of magic.  But the magic is not meant to be harmful.  The story contains no Christian elements, but can still be used to teach Christian truths--such as the importance of forgiveness.  Working together is another important element in the book.  There are some elements of lying to adults as the children attempt to figure out how to solve their problems.  In their defense, however, the truth is completely unbelievable and would have sounded like a lie, and they do their best to not lie to or disobey their parents.
**** 4 stars

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins

My last post from the "My Name is America" series (at least until I find some more :D )

Title:  The Journal of Scott Pendleton Collins:  A World War II Soldier
Author :  Walter Dean Myers
Setting:  Normandy, France 1944
Target Audience:  Junior high-High school
Approximate independent reading level:  9th grade

Summary:  Scott Collins is not long out of high school when he joins the army.  His journal records his experiences as he goes first to England, then fights through France.  Scott meets local people as well as other soldiers.  Not all of the men he fights alongside make it home.  The journal covers only three months of the war, but they are an event-filled three months.  Scott survives the war and returns home, although he never outlives its effects.

Review:  Scott does describe some of the gruesome results of war involving destruction of the towns and some injuries sustained during attacks.  The writing is good, and the historical information at the back of the book includes a map of Normandy.  Obviously, the book cannot be used as a source of factual information, such as for a report, but I think it's a good fictional representation of what a young soldier may have gone through.
**** 4 stars

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dear America: My Secret War

Hello again,
And life has gotten in the way again.  I apologize for being late again with this post, but the last couple weeks have been pretty hectic.  They included a couple of doctor's appointments, an unexpected trip out of town for a funeral, and many other little problems.  But I hope you enjoy this book.  I have one more "Dear America" book after this one (there are several more, but I don't have them).

Title:  My Secret War:  The World War II Diary of Madeline Beck
Author:  Mary Pope Osborne
Setting:  Long Island, New York, 1941
Target Audience:  Junior high
Independent Reading Level:  8th

Summary:  Madeline and her mother recently moved into a boarding house in Long Island.  Her father is on an aircraft carrier somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.  The story begins in late September of 1941, as Madeline is having trouble in her new school.  American warships are protecting merchant ships (since they are being attacked by German submarines), but America has not yet entered the war.  The book continues as Pearl Harbor is attacked, and America enters the war.  Madeline starts a club so that local kids can help with the war effort by doing things such as collecting scrap metal.  Madeline has to deal with many problems, including worry about her father, the other residents in the house, and other girls at school who do not want to include her.  As the book ends, Madeline must leave her new friends and begin life in a new city again. 

Review:  The book does cover a sensitive topic--war, but I think Osborne does so in a good manner.  As with other Dear America books, historical information is included about the era.  Madeline's worry about her father is often evident, but Osborne balances this with real life often distracting her from writing letters to her father.  I think this is a good book to expose young adults to World War II.
**** 4 stars

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

A Time for Courage

Title:  A Time for Courage
Author:  Kathryn Lasky
Target Audience:  Upper Elementary
Independent Reading Level:  5th grade
Setting:  Washington, DC 1917, Women's Suffragette Movement and WWI

Summary:  Kathleen Bowen is given a diary by her mother for Christmas.  At first, she thinks her life is too boring to write about.  But as women petition and picket to gain the right to vote and America enters the Great War, she soon finds quite a bit to write about in her life and that of her family. 

Review:  Kathleen is like most girls her age.  As she writes, she worries about school, her mother's participation in the movement for women's right to vote, and the possibility of her father's going to war.  Kathleen's character is dynamic--by the end of the book, she is more focused on others than at the beginning of the book.  More focus is given to the women's suffrage movement than to the war, but some people Kathleen knows are involved in helping wounded soldiers and that part of the war is described.  As with the other books in the Dear America series, a historical note and pictures are included at the end of the book describing actual events and people of the time.  Also, the book is interesting as well as educational.
**** 4 stars

Sunday, July 29, 2012

West to a Land of Plenty

Time's fun when you're having flies!  Whoops, sorry--guess I've been hanging out around the local frogs too much lately :)  I meant to say, Time flies when you're having fun!  Here's this week's review.
Keep reading,

Title:  West to a Land of Plenty:  The Diary of Teresa Angelino Viscardi
Author:  Jim Murphy
Setting:  New York to Idaho Territory, 1883
Target Audience:  Middle School
Approximate Independent Reading Level:  8th

Summary:  Teresa and her family are Italians living in New York with several other Italian families on their street.  "Poppa" has come home and announced that they will be leaving their home in New York to go to Idaho territory, where they will be able to get a large plot of land and farm it.  Also, they will not be looked down on as they are in New York.  Teresa is very upset about leaving her home and her friends, and she writes in her diary at the suggestion of her teacher.  Her younger sister Antoinetta, who goes by Netta, also writes in the diary sometimes.  The trail is long and hard, with many sicknesses and dangers.  Several people decide not to continue or die along the way.  Teresa's (almost) daily story shows how the journey changes her and others.

Review: Another book in the "Dear America" series, this book is again written in a diary format.  Teresa's arguing with Netta is comparable to the sibling rivalry in most families.  Teresa uses a few Italian words, but they are close enough to the American to be determined from context.  Different typesets are used to make it easy to determine whether the writing is Teresa's diary entry or something else (Netta's diary entry or a letter that Teresa pasted into the diary.  I think the book is well-written in Teresa's voice (and others when appropriate), including spelling and grammatical errors.  The use of historical fiction makes this time period in America's interesting.
**** 4 stars

Happy reading, y'all!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Quackadack Duck

Hey, y'all!

Taking a quick break from the Dear America series this week for a short read.  This week flew by, and I can't believe I'm a day late on posting again! 


Title:  Quackadack Duck
Author:  Allen Morgan
Illustrator:  John Beder
Target Audience:  Young children (a read-aloud book)
Approximate (independent) reading level:  3rd grade

Summary:  A troll likes to make mischief and collect pennies.  One day, he comes across a duck egg as it is hatching.  The baby duck thinks the troll is his mother, and begins copying the troll.  At first, the troll is upset and ignores the baby duck; but he soon feels pity for the duck and lets him into his home, naming him Quackadack Duck.  When the duck follows him to the market and is taken by a man with a poultry store, the troll must choose between his treasured pennies and his new friend.

Review:  The story is well-written and the artwork is just as good and also flows well into the story.  The words are rhythmical and sometimes rhyming, which makes it more fun for young children.  The story also teaches a good lesson about the importance of friendship.
**** 4 stars

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Heart is on the Ground

Hi, folks!
I missed last week AND am late this week--WHOOPS!  I had a couple of family trips over the last two weeks an was unable to finish reading my book in time.  Hope y'all enjoy this review, and I should be back on track next Friday.
God bless,

Title:  My Heart is on the GroundThe Diary of Nannie Little Rose, a Sioux Girl
Author:  Ann Rinaldi
Setting:  Carlisle Indian School, Pennsylvania, 1880
Target Audience:  Upper Elementary-Middle School
Approximate reading level:  6th grade

Summary:  Little Rose lived on a reservation with her family and tribe until her father decided to send her to the school for Indians in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  There, she was forced to lose her Indian language and customs and take on those of the white people--even being required to take a new name, Nannie.  In her diary, she writes about her first year away from home.  She meets new friends and welcomes old ones and grows in her understanding of "white" customs and language.

Review:  Nannie Little Rose's writing improves while at the school, but may be difficult to understand at times.  There are some controversial elements, such as Nannie's hurting herself in a time of grief, and the Indians being forced to give up their clothes and hair.  These are historically accurate, however, and contribute to the story--not gratuitous at all.
**** 4 stars

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Journal of Joshua Loper: A Black Cowboy

Series:  My Name Is America (Dear America)
Title:  The Journal of Joshua Loper:  A Black Cowboy
Setting:  The Chisholm Trail, 1871
Main Character:  Joshua Loper, a 16-year-old black cowboy

Summary:  Joshua is a cowboy and has just been told he will be helping drive his boss' cows up the Chisholm Trail to be sold.  He is black at a time shortly after the Civil War, when this is an important distinction.  His diary covers his journey from Mr. Muhlen's ranch in Texas to Abilene, Kansas as he deals with stampedes, the excitement of his first time on the trail, tricks played on him by other members of the cattle drive, and even a great loss.  His first entry is April 30, and he describes his journey until the group arrives in Abilene July 15.  Mr. Muhlen has also arrived for the sale of his cattle, and tells Joshua, along with some of the other trail hands, that he wants them to return to the ranch and bring back another herd of cattle.  Joshua arrives home, but doesn't have much time to spend with his mother before heading back out on the trail as the book closes.

Review:  I think the diary format makes these books interesting.  The author includes a "Historical Note" at the end of the book with a description of "Life in America in 1871" and pictures of the towns and people who inspired Joshua's story.  A fold-out map of the Chisholm Trail is also included as the last page.  There are some grammatical errors, but they are accurate to how an individual like Joshua would have talked and written.  Joshua makes several references to church and prayer.  I have enjoyed reading this book more than once, and will read it again.
**** Four stars

Keep reading,

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dear America: A Picture of Freedom

Title:  Dear America:  A Picture of Freedom (The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl
Author:  Patricia C. McKissack
Setting:  Belmont Plantation, Virginia, 1859
Target Audience:  Upper Elementary--Middle

Summary:  The book is written in diary format, from the perspective of a 12-year-old slave girl who works in the kitchen on a Virginia plantation.  She taught herself to read and write while fanning the Master's son William during his lessons.  This act could earn her a severe beating if her Master finds out, as well as result in her being sold to another Master in the "Deep South"--both scary ideas.  So, she must keep her learning--and her diary--a secret from everyone.  Even the other slaves might tell on her if it means some benefit for them.  In the book, Clotee writes about her life for about 13 months.  She learns about abolitionists, the Underground Railroad, and the dangers of learning too much.

Review:  I think this book is very well-written.  There is a clear difference in Clotee's writing over the course of the book as she learns more.  The book does include some incidents which, though historically accurate, may be considered problematic, such as beatings of slaves. A few spots may be difficult to understand, due to poor English and historical words or phrasing, but I believe most readers will be able to figure out what is meant by the context.  I think reading the book may be helpful in understanding what slaves went through in early America.  A "Historical Note" at the end of the book explains how slavery ended and some important people involved, such as Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman. 
**** Four stars

Friday, June 15, 2012

My America: Five Smooth Stones

Title:  My America:  Five Smooth Stones (Hope's Diary--Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1776)
Author:  Kristiana Gregory
Target Audience:  Elementary
Approximate reading level:  4th

Summary:  The author writes as Hope, a nine-year-old girl living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the start of America's history as a new country.  The book is written as her journal.  Entries are short and not daily, but mostly dated (a few are marked as something like "the next morning"). The author includes a "Historical Note" at the end of the book to put some of the details from the book in historical context.

Review:  A few words may be unfamiliar due to the historical usage of words and language ('twas, 'tis, arithmetick, dost, for example).  I enjoy this type of book because it can make history more interesting because the story is told from the point of view of an average person.  The book mainly covers daily life, but also mentions historical events such as the writing of the Declaration of Independence and George Washington's Christmas night attack on the British soldiers. 
**** Four stars

Saturday, June 9, 2012


A note to parents:  The book reviewed below covers difficult topics.  I believe these topics are important because many teens today are dealing with them, even if the parents don't know about it.  Please carefully read the summary and review, and if you have any more questions, feel free to e-mail me at and I will do my best to answer.  You may want to read this book with your teen or before he or she reads it.  Or, you may at least want to discuss it with him or her after he or she reads it.  This is not a light reading book.

Author:  Jay Asher
Target Audience:  High school
Approximate reading level: 8th

Main characters:
-Hannah Baker, a high school student who recently committed suicide and has left behind a series of tapes explaining why
-Clay Jensen, the narrator, from whose point of view we hear Hannah's story

Summary:  When Hannah Baker decides to take her own life, she also decides to leave behind 7 audio cassette tapes explaining why she made this decision and telling her story, along with the stories of several others in the school--those who affected her decision.  We learn her story through Clay, as he listens to the tapes.  The author also gives Clay's reactions alongside Hannah's story.  At times, Hannah's story, and Clay's reaction to it, are interrupted as Clay wanders through town visiting places where the stories that impacted Hannah's decision happened, meeting and talking to others.

Review:  Because Clay's story is told directly alongside Hannah's, rather than the book being divided into two parts or even divided by chapters, the impact of the story is stronger.  Many controversial topics are covered, or at least referenced:  bullying, teen suicide, teenage drinking/drunkenness, sexual assault, and drunk driving.  But it also shows that you have an impact on those around you, even when you don't realize it.  Something that seems small and unimportant to one person may be devastating to another.  Your actions have consequences.  Unfortunately, these topics are influencing teens today, and even "Christian school kids" are not totally exempt.  Bullying was present in my Christian school, and I think at least one of these other topics was as well.  Even the teen that has never had to deal with any of these topics (which I believe most, if not all teens have had some experience with bullying in some form) can be reminded that the little things are important, and that we should treat others with the kindness that Christ showed us. 
This book is not Christian in nature.  The only reference to religion at all is when Hannah says, "And you, lucky number thirteen, you can take the tapes straight to hell.  Depending on your religion, maybe I'll see you there."  However, some Christian principles can be taken from it, such as treating others how you would want to be treated and with love.
I would like to suggest discussing this book with your teen if he or she reads it.  You may find out that your teen knows someone in Hannah's position (or even in some other problem situations in the book). 
I'm not sure I can say I enjoyed reading this book, because it is a sad, somewhat heartbreaking story.  But it is definitely a page-turner.  When I needed to stop reading, I couldn't wait to get back to Hannah's story and see what happened to make her believe she had no other choice, as well as seeing what Clay learned from her story.
**** Four stars

Matthew 7:12a "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them;"

Love in Christ,

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Half Magic

Title:  Half Magic
Author:  Edward Eager
Illustrator:  N. M. Bodecker
Approximate reading level:  5th grade
Main characters: Siblings Jane, Mark, Katherine, and Martha

Summary:  The four children are out on a summer day, looking for adventure, when Jane finds (what she thinks is) a nickel on the sidewalk.  When she later makes a wish, it comes true--but only halfway.  After thinking long and hard all afternoon and evening, she comes to the conclusion that it was not a nickel, but a magic charm.  Unfortunately by this time, her mother has borrowed the nickel from her dresser for bus fare.  But thankfully, something strange happens while her mother is visiting family and she does not spend the nickel.  What follows is a series of adventures as the children take turns wishing and try to double wish so they will get what they actually want when it only half comes true.

Review:  I think this book is well-written.  Magic is involved, but no harmful magic. The adventures are interesting and do not turn out perfectly--even magic can't fix everything, even when the children try to wish double so that half of the wish will be what they actually want.  They use the magic to help others as well as themselves.
****Four stars

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Indian in the Cupboard

Title:  The Indian in the Cupboard
Author:  Lynne Reid Banks
Approximate reading level:  Sixth grade
Main character:  Omri, a young boy in England

Summary:  The book starts with Omri's birthday.  He receives several presents, including a plastic Indian from his friend Patrick and a cabinet from his brother Gillon.  Although the cabinet locks, there was no key left with the cabinet.  But Omri's mother has a collection of keys, and he finds one that fits.  Somewhere in the key, or the cabinet, or the combination of the two Omri discovers a magic that will change his life drastically.

Review:  The book takes place in England, so there may be a few words that may be difficult for American children to understand (Some examples include biscuit for cookie and lorry for car.  This fantasy does include magic, although it is never purposefully used for harm.  Omri is a young boy faced with a difficult decision and a sudden weight of responsibility, and he fares well.  The book is well-written, although again, there may be some difficulty with a few words due to language differences.

5 stars

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Caddie Woodlawn

Title: Caddie Woodlawn
Author: Carol Ryrie Brink
Approximate Reading Level: 5th grade
Main characters:
--Caddie Woodlawn, 11-year-old pioneer
--Caddie's brothers and sisters:  Clara and Tom (older); Warren and Hetty (younger)
--Caddie's parents

When the Woodlawn family left Boston to travel west, they know the trip will be difficult, but the don't realize just how difficult.  Caddie and Mary are young and weak, and Mary doesn't survive the trip.  So, Mr. Woodlawn makes an agreement with Mrs. Woodlawn--she can have any other girls if only he can experiment with Caddie.  Instead of keeping Caddie inside learning to cook, clean, sew, and all the other things "proper" girls learned in the late 1800's, he wants to allow Caddie to run with her brothers to get fresh air and exercise to help her grow strong and healthy.  The book follows one year of Caddie's adventures as a tomboy with brothers Tom and Warren.  And there are plenty of adventures (and trouble) for three young children to get into.  Towards the end of the book, Caddie begins to wonder if perhaps being a young lady won't be so bad.

This book was written by Caddie's grandaughter, who based the book on her grandmother's stories, but added a few adventures to help further the plot.  There are a few words and spellings that show the time period the story took place that may make it difficult ("to-night" and "dast," for example), but most readers should be able to determine meaning from context.  I enjoy historical fiction, and this book is one of my favorites since I discovered it in my Children's Literature class.  The book is not overtly Christian and teaching salvation as some other books I have reviewed, but still has good morals.
**** 4 stars

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Incredible Rescues: The Young Refugees Book three

Title:  The Incredible Rescues
Author:  Ed Dunlop
Target Age:  9-12
Approximate Reading Level:  5th grade
Main Characters:
    Miklos--a Hungarian Jew who befriends Hans and Gretchen

Hans and Gretchen are now in Budapest, Hungary.  The story opens with Hans and Gretchen hiding in a trainyard watching Nazis loading Jews onto death trains heading for Auschwitz.  They later meet Miklos, who is working for Raoul Wallenberg.  Mr. Wallenberg left neutral Sweden to help Jews in Hungary escape, even though he himself is not Jewish.  With their father's permission, Hans and Gretchen take Miklos' place after he is injured and help Mr. Wallenberg mainly by carrying food and messages and by taking pictures.  However, at times, they are even facing Nazis and Arrow Cross members (young Hungarians who assist Nazi soldiers) to help Jewish people escape transportation to certain death.  Although they are always in danger, one attempt at help puts Gretchen in even more danger than usual--on a train bound for Auschwitz.

I have enjoyed this series multiple times, and am sure I will again.  This may be partly because I am interested in historical fiction regarding the Holecaust, but it is also because they are well-written.  Again, any phrases in foreign languages are explained at the back of the book.  This book also includes an Epilogue which explains that some of the characters and events actually happened.  Hans explains the plan of salvation to Miklos, but at another point struggles with trusting God due to what has happened to Gretchen.  I believe the book shows a good example of the Christian walk--it's not always easy, but God provides the strength as it's needed.
4 stars

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Young Refugees book two

Title: The Search for the Silver Eagle
Author:  Ed Dunlop
Target Age:  9-12
Approximate Reading Level:  5th grade
Main Characters: 
Hans: 12-year-old boy, named after his father
Gretchen: Hans' 9-year-old sister
Hans Kaltenbrunner (later Gustav Von Edler)

Summary:  Hans, Gretchen, and their Papa have escaped the Nazis in Austria, but they have been found out and must run again.  Although Allied agents find them safety with new identities in Vichy France (a portion of southern France unoccupied by Germany), they are not there long before German soldiers take over Vichy France as well.  They decide it will be safer to stay than to try to cross the border filled with German soldiers, and a new adventure begins.  While watching an air battle with a local boy, Hans watches an American plane get shot down.  Hans and Philipe decide to find the American plane.  While searching, they stumble across the pilot, and determine to help him and keep him safe from the Germans.  A few adults are brought into the secret, and the American asks for help.  The story follows the search by the town members who are against the Germans as well as the danger everyone is put in by Collette, Philippe's sister and a staunch supporter of the Germans because of her anger against the French over her father's death.

Review:  Another book that I have enjoyed re-reading.  There is a focus on the importance of witnessing whenever possible, since you don't know how long you may have the opportunity with someone.  French vocabulary is used in addition to German in this second book of the trilogy, and again they are in italics with a glossary in the back.  There is a quick blurb in the front of the book with a few historical facts about Vichy France that are relevant to the storyline.
****4 stars

Friday, February 17, 2012

Escape to Liechtenstien: The Young Refugees Book 1

I apologize that it's been 1 1/2 months since my last post.  My job and the holidays conspired against me.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I am no longer working, so I hope to be able to post more often.
Today's book is the first in a three-part series entitled "The Young Refugees."  I will discuss books 2 and 3 in posts soon.

Title: Escape to Liechtenstein
Author: Ed Dunlop
Target Audience: ages 9-12
Reading level: approximately fifth grade
148 pages, plus a short glossary of German terms used
Main characters:
Gretchen, a nine-year-old Austrian girl
Hans, a twelve-year-old Austrian boy
Jacob, a thirteen-year-old Jewish fugitive 

Summary: The story is set during World War II, summer and fall of 1942.  Austria has been taken over by Germany, and the small village where Gretchen and Hans live has been attacked, leaving the children alone after their mother's death and their father being taken into the German army.  When soldiers storm the village, searching house by house for a young boy, the children have no idea that the fugitive is hiding in their barn.  The soldiers leave, not finding their prey, and Hans and Gretchen discover Jacob.  They agree to let Jacob hide in their barn overnight and share their small supply of food with him, learning that he is the one that the German soldiers are searching for, and he is heading for Liechtenstein, a neutral country that borders Austria.  They agree to accompany Jacob, although he protests at first.  The three children face a long, dangerous journey, with little help and many enemies.  Why does it seem like the entire German army is looking for Jacob?  And with dangers everywhere they turn, can they possibly make it to safety?

Review: Several German terms are used, but a glossary is included in the back for definitions.  The basic idea of the word can often be determined from context ("a steaming bowl of gulyassuppe . . . and a single slice of ankerbrot" -- possibly soup or stew, since it's hot, but it's morning, so it could be something like oatmeal, and a slice of bread, maybe? look in the glossary and find that gulyassuppe is a Hungarian soup and ankerbrot is an Austian bread), and all of the German words are in italics for easy identification.  The book clearly shows God's protection and providence as the children go through many trials heading for the Liechtenstein border.  There is some violence in the form of guns, land mines, and fists, but it is contextual (it is a war, after all) and it is not too graphic.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this book each time I have read it.
***** Five stars