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Hitler's Canaryby Sandi Toksvig
Synopses & Reviews
My brother stood up so quickly he almost knocked Mama over. "Why aren't you doing something? Do you know what the British are calling us? Hitler's canary! I've heard it on the radio, on the BBC. They say he has us in a cage and we just sit and sing any tune he wants." I knew I should be afraid, but I didn't know yet what of: the Germans? The British? The French? We were theater people. We didn't get involved in these things. It had nothing to do with us. Bamse is used to drama—his mother is a famous actress and his best friend, Anton, is one of the most daring boys in all of Denmark. Should he follow his fathers advice and not stir up trouble—or follow his daring brother into the Resistance and take part in the most demanding role of his life? [Note: The characters name means "Teddy" in Danish and is pronounced "Bum Sir."]
"In this insightful novel, Toksvig offers a unique glimpse of WWII, writing from the perspective of a 10-year-old Danish boy forced to grow up quickly. Bamse, the son of a famous stage actress and a talented set designer, has 'lived in a make-believe world' until the spring of 1940 when Germany invades his country. In Copenhagen, Nazi soldiers now rule the streets, and native Danes begin to fear for their safety. Some, like Bamse's mother and father, try to keep a low profile in order to keep their loved ones safe. Others, like the boy's 16-year-old brother, refuse to act like 'Hitler's Canary,' and wish to take a stand against the invaders. When rumors spread that Jews are being taken from their homes, Bamse's entire family takes part in a resistance movement, hiding Jewish friends and later helping them escape. Based on true stories handed down to the author by her father, Toksvis's tale of courage in the face of tyranny sheds light on the difficult choices facing the Danish people and pays tribute to resisters (including some compassionate Germans), who make enormous sacrifices in order to save others' lives. Through the boy's narrative, readers witness his loss of innocence ('I knew my Danish history from school: for the first time in nine hundred years my homeland... was not free and independent'). The author thus brings to life the tensions in Denmark at a time when 'it wasn't always easy to tell the difference' between the 'good' and 'bad' people. Ages 11-up. Agent: Nancy Gallt Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Based on a true story, this is a gripping, yet humorous account of a daring rescue in occupied Denmark.
April 1940: German troops are pouring onto the streets of Denmark. 12-year-old Bamse and his daring friend Anton can't resist playing practical jokes on the invading soldiers. When it becomes clear to the people of Denmark that the trouble isn't going to pass them by, they decide to take action and Bamse and his eccentric family are about to take part in one of history's most dramatic rescues — smuggling Denmark's Jewish population across the water to Sweden, and safety.
From the Hardcover edition.
The extraordinary story of the courage of ordinary Danes who saved the Jewish population of Denmark from death by the Nazi occupiers--in a gripping and funny novel.
Bamse is used to drama--his mother is a famous actress and his best friend, Anton, is one of the most daring boys in all of Denmark. Should he follow his father's advice and not stir up trouble--or follow his daring brother into the Resistance and take part in the most demanding role of his life?
About the Author
Born in Copenhagen, Sandi Toksvig now lives in Britain. Her theater credits include seasons with the New Shakespeare Company at Regent's Park. She hosts "The News Quiz" TV show in London.
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