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Author: Polacco, Patricia
During the Nazi occupation of France, Monique's mother hides a Jewish family in her basement and tries to help them escape to freedom.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.80
Points: .5 Quiz: 43946
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.10
Points: 3.0 Quiz: 22028
|Accelerated Reader Disk:|
Librarians' Picks, Lower Grades 2000, Disk: L-61
Picture Book Paradise, Disk: L-13
|Reading Counts Disk:|
Patricia Polacco Collection, Disk: I-923-JJ
Bulletin for the Center... - 06/01/2000 Monique awakens in the middle of the night to the sight of a “ghost child” sitting on the end of her bed, who runs away before Monique can speak to her. When she tells her mother what she has seen, her mother firmly tells her that it was only a dream. Living just outside of Paris during World War II, Monique and her friends are beginning to see frightening changes in their neighborhood, as Nazis dominate the streets and some Jewish neighbors are taken away. Unbeknownst to Monique, her mother has been helping the French Resistance; eventually the “ghost child” is revealed as a Jewish girl named Sevrine who is living, with her family, in a secret part of Monique’s cellar. Watercolor illustrations show figures in muted colors suffused with deep gray shadows that contrast starkly with blank white backgrounds, conveying the bleak harshness of the Nazi occupation. The faces of the two girls are expressively awkward in the spreads depicting their second nighttime meeting, where they sort out what they are both doing in the house (“Where do you live?” Monique insisted. “Here!” Sevrine finally said. “Here?” Monique said with such surprise and so loudly that it might have awakened the whole neighborhood! “But I live here!”). Unfortunately, the view of the Holocaust is somewhat sanitized (a note explains that some of the people upon whom the story was based suffered grim fates unmentioned in the story proper), and the plotting is wordy and illogical. Despite the sentimentality and convolutions, however, this is a sometimes moving and dramatic story of a child’s perspective on the Holocaust and the French Resistance that retains the immediacy of Monique’s understanding. - Copyright 2000 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 04/01/2000 In a quiet author's note, Polacco tells the true story on which this picture book is based. Her aunt Monique was a child in France during the Nazi occupation. Monique didn't know that her mother was active in the French Resistance and was hiding a Jewish family in the cellar of her house. Told from the child's viewpoint, the facts are spellbinding: Monique's discovery of the hidden refugee child, Sevrine, the end of the girls' strong friendship when the Jewish family is forced to flee and face the Nazi patrols. Unfortunately, the storytelling and pictures are melodramatic and sentimental. The sustained metaphor of the title refers to a fragile butterfly that Monique brings to Sevrine in hiding. It flutters like the kiss of an angel, but is crushed in the fist of an ominous Nazi. In the end Monique sees a group of butterflies flying free and takes that as a sign that her friend is safe. What will hold grade-school kids is the truth of the friendship story and the tension of hiding to survive. (Reviewed April 1, 2000) - Copyright 2000 Booklist.