|Flight for freedom : the Wetzel family's daring escape from East Germany|
Author: Fulton, Kristen
Many people attempted daring escapes over the Berlin Wall, and most failed, giving their lives for the hope of freedom. This is the true story of one child, Peter Wetzel, and his family's daring escape from East Berlin to West Berlin via handmade hot air balloon in 1979.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.70
Points: .5 Quiz: 508874
Kirkus Reviews (-) (01/15/20)
School Library Journal (03/01/20)
Booklist (+) (02/15/20)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 02/15/2020 *Starred Review* Flight for Freedom is a model historical picture book. Told from the perspective of six- to seven-year-old Peter, the Wetzels’ older son, the story focuses on a dramatic and unfamiliar yet intimate event: the family’s 1979 escape from East to West Germany in a hot-air balloon. Fulton uses telling details (like kids eating pizza versus looking forward to an annual banana) to contrast West and East Germany and to show the physical barrier between them. This provides just the right amount of context for the story to make sense, without obscuring the narrative. Kuhlmann (Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure, 2018) contributes dark, atmospheric illustrations that realistically add to the sense of gloom in East Germany. Conversely, the balloon—patiently crafted by the Wetzels over the course of a year—adds a splotch of color and reflects the family’s hope for escape. Older readers (and adults!) are likely to want to learn more, and the author sensibly includes several pages of denser information at the end to provide details about the balloon itself, the Wetzel family’s several attempts to escape, and the context of the Cold War and the Berlin Wall. Though readers will likely enjoy this additional information, this gem of a book brings the historical setting vividly to life under its own steam. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 03/01/2020 Gr 2–5—East Berlin, 1979. Six-year-old Peter, who was born during the Cold War, knew that other children watched cartoons, wore jeans, and ate pizza, but he never had those experiences. His parents had to be careful in what they said and did, and they all lived under tight government restrictions. An atmosphere of fear was always present. Peter noticed his parents buying odd supplies and heard them working on a secret project at night. When he found a newspaper photo of a huge balloon, his parents made him promise to never talk about it. Peter was ready, however, when his parents woke him in the middle of the night and told him it was time to leave. Peter's parents and their friends, the Strelzyk family, quietly built a hot air balloon to use to escape to West Germany. These events seem too incredible to be true, but they really happened. The dramatic exit and daring flight will hold readers in suspense as they, like Peter, wait anxiously to make sure the families end up outside of the Berlin Wall. VERDICT Younger readers will need some context about the Cold War to understand the reasoning behind the family's drastic escape plan, but this book, like The Wall by Peter Sís, will encourage them to learn more.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.