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|You can't see the elephants|
Author: Kreller, Susan
When she suspects that her young neighbors are being abused by their father, one brave girl takes a stand to protect them.
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 72265
Kirkus Reviews (09/01/15)
School Library Journal (11/01/15)
Booklist (+) (11/01/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/15)
The Hornbook (00/01/16)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/01/2015 *Starred Review* Mascha is bored. The 13-year-old is spending the summer with her grandparents, and everyone in the neighborhood is either too old or too young to befriend, while those who are her age ignore her. But then she meets 9-year-old Julia and her 7-year-old brother, Max, and the three begin a tentative friendship. Quickly Mascha discovers her new friends are covered with suspicious bruises and cuts. Then she sees Max’s hot-tempered father push him into a wall and realizes the two children are being abused. But when she tells her grandparents, they refuse to believe her. Indeed, no one in their small town wants to credit her story, though many suspect the truth. The two children’s plight, it seems, is the elephant in the room that everyone pretends they can’t see lest they upset the established order. Desperate to help, Mascha decides she will rescue the two children herself, but what can one young girl do? German journalist Kreller has written an affecting story about a universal problem that will resonate with a widespread audience. Readers will identify with Mascha’s brave but arguably misguided efforts, while empathizing with the battered siblings. Winner of seven international awards, this important book—seamlessly translated by Gaffney—deserves an expansive readership. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2015 Gr 5–8—How adults fail children is the essence of this novel translated from the German and originally set in Germany but recast in the American heartland for U.S. publication. Mascha, 13, has been spending summers with her grandparents since her mother's death seven years ago, but small-town life is stifling compared to the big city where she and her father live. When she accidentally witnesses a neighborhood boy being verbally and physically assaulted by his father, she questions her grandparents and other adults around her, all of whom advise her to mind her own business. The boy's father is a respected member of the community, and accusing him without proof would mean risking their own reputations. Mascha turns to her own father, who tells her someone else will take care of it; when she calls 911, her call is perceived as a prank. With no one else to stand up for the boy and his sister, Mascha devises a rash but well-intended plan to save them, a plan that quickly spirals out of control. Underlying this story of child abuse is Mascha's own story of emotional neglect by a father who, as she puts it, is content only when working and has no happiness left over for her. VERDICT Minimal descriptions of violence and a strong narrative thread make this a compelling read for preteens and teens.—Susan Stan, Professor Emerita of English, Central Michigan University - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.