Synopses & Reviews
A tender story about the power of love in the face of loss
Nine-year-old Claudine doesnt want to leave her much-loved home in France to go live in America, not without her parents. But she knows about the shortages, about the yellow stars Jews must wear, and about Adolf Hitler. And she knows that there are some things she needs to do even when she doesnt want to. Its wartime, and there is much that is different now. There are more things that Claudine will lose to this terrible war. But not everything that is lost must be lost forever. Here is a moving story about lost and found lives, and the healing power of love.
"This solemnly straightforward chapter book follows Claudine, a Jewish French girl, and her beloved doll Violette as her world is turned upside down twice: first when the Nazis occupy France, and then again when the eight-year-old must leave Papa and Maman behind in Paris to seek safety with relatives in America. McDonough (Anne Frank) depicts Violette as both a witness to and an embodiment of Claudine's tumultuous experience. The doll, the girl's prized possession, becomes a symbol of Claudine's carefree, pre-war life, and then a steadfast companion as the noose tightens around the Jewish community and, finally, both a casualty of war and its miraculous survivor. While the prose slips into woodenness at times, the events keep the pages turning, and McDonough's emotional acuity always shines through. The author is at her best in the chapters set in America (in one heart-wrenching passage, the girl asks her Aunt Adele whether she must continue to wear the yellow star), and the life she and her father slowly rebuild after the war without Maman, who was murdered by the Nazis. Although the illustrator seems more at ease in portraying Claudine as fragile rather than the girl of quiet but enormous resilience portrayed in the story, Root's spot art and full-page illustrations convey a simple poignancy. Ages 7-12." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Yona Zeldis McDonough
is the author of many acclaimed childrens books, including The Dollhouse Magic
. Born in Israel, Ms. McDonough grew up in the United States and now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and their two children.
Kimberly Bulcken Root has illustrated more than fifteen books for young readers, including Holts reissue of Understood Betsy. She lives in Quarryville, Pennsylvania.