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