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|Day the world stopped turning|
Author: Morpurgo, Michael
In the unique landscape of the Camargue in the South of France during WW2, a young autistic boy lives on his parents' farm among the salt flats and the flamingos that live there. There are lots of things he doesn't understand, but he does know how to heal animals. He loves routine and music too; every week he goes to market with his mother, to ride his special horse on the town carousel. But then the Germans come, with their guns, and take the town.
School Library Journal (07/01/19)
Booklist (+) (07/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/07/19)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 07/01/2019 Gr 5–8—This story within a story begins in the 1980s with 18-year-old Englishman, Vincent, taking a wandering journey through France. He falls ill in the marshlands of Camargue and is rescued Lorenzo, a man with autism, who is out searching for lost or injured flamingos. Lorenzo takes Vincent back to his farmhouse where he and his friend, Kezia, nurse him slowly back to health. As he recovers, Kezia tells him the tale of how she and Lorenzo came to live alone on the farm. It is a tale that goes back to the early 1940s, when they were both children and Germany had invaded France. Kezia was a lonely girl, bullied and ostracized for her Roma heritage even as the other children enjoyed her family's magnificent carousel on the town square. Lorenzo is looked down on by many in the town for his autism which is characterized by echolalia (repeating words or phrases), difficulty regulating emotions, and fixation on animals–flamingos in particular. The friendship that develops between the two as children is beautifully innocent and genuine. Their story is one of wartime and loss, but also of compassion and hope. However, the device of looking back a bit at a time as present-day Kezia (an adult) tells the tale to Vincent (another adult) pulls readers from a moving tale and keeps them from being fully immersed. As a result, it takes much longer to become invested in the children's story. VERDICT A beautiful but slow-moving novel that will appeal most to patient, mature readers of historical fiction.—Kelly Roth, Bartow County Public Library, Cartersville, GA - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 07/01/2019 *Starred Review* Vincent, an Englishman, recalls a story he heard in his late teens. Falling ill while walking through southern France, he is taken in by Kezia, an elderly Roma woman, and Lorenzo, her lifelong best friend, who speaks in his own limited language and cares for the local flamingos. Kezia tells Vincent about growing up during the 1940s. She helped her parents run their handmade carousel, which Lorenzo loved to ride. Called “gyppo girl” (a racial slur) by the local children, she hated school, so Lorenzo's mother taught her to read. During the German occupation, her family moved their caravan onto Lorenzo’s parents’ remote farm and hid from the Nazis in their farmhouse. Despite suffering during the occupation, they rebuilt the carousel, and they endured. Morpurgo, the author of War Horse (2007), transports readers back in time and tells a beautifully layered story in three eras: the lightly delineated framework of Vincent’s present and past, and the absorbing account of the two children and their families during WWII. Most notable are the portrayal of Lorenzo, whose clear limitations pale next to his strengths, and the inclusion of a compassionate German soldier who helps the families when he can. A vivid, memorable story of children in wartime. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.