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.)
Nominated for the Carnegie Medal for Outstanding Fiction"An extraordinary story . . . Truly life-affirming." —Michael Morpurgo, bestselling author of War Horse "Through the voice of twelve-year-old Bamse, Toksvig mixes in a sardonic humor that adds spice and comic relief to a story about a very perilous and frightening time. Drawing on real events and the experiences of her family, she re-creates an episode in history when many citizens willingly put their lives at risk to participate in the ten-day rescue of the Danish Jews during the Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur holidays of 1943. In total, close to 7200 Jews and 689 non-Jews escaped to Sweden. Readable, intriguing, and realistic, with a good epilogue and author's note appended." —School Library Journal "Though such suspenseful episodes will thrill readers, it is Bamse's growing courage and deepening understanding that drive the story." —Booklist "There are not many classic children's novels about the Second World War but this is one of them. Toksvigs enchanting and inspiring tale reminds us of how even the smallest people made a difference." —The Times "A page-turner written with warmth and wit, not to mention a keen narrative sense." —Time Out "Racily written and full of comic incident as well as suspense." —Independent "Brilliantly told . . . Never loses sight of the childs view of war." —Guardian "Funny and gripping." —Funday Times "Sandi Toksvig is a national treasure." —Deborah Ross, Inside
Although he comes from a family of theater people who don't get involved in politics, ten-year-old Bamse and his Jewish friend Anton join Bamse's brother and participate in the Danish Resistance during World War II. 25,000 first printing.
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
Sandi Toksvig's theater credits include seasons with the New Shakespeare Company at Regents Park. Her TV credits include various news shows, and she is now the host of "The News Quiz" in London. The author of thirteen books for children and adults, Sandi has regular columns in the Sunday Telegraph and Good Housekeeping.