Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 03/01/2020 *Starred Review* This oversize picture-book memoir tells the story of Peter Feigl, a 12-year-old boy fleeing the Nazis during WWII. His family's odyssey began in Berlin and continued on to Czechoslovakia, Austria, Belgium, and France, where his parents were arrested and deported to Auschwitz. Peter was left alone, and he hid in various schools and orphanages until he made it to freedom in Switzerland. Substantial text fills in historical and political background, but more compelling are the photos and excerpts from Peter's diaries, where he writes to his absent parents and records his daily experiences. This account is based on interviews conducted by the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum oral history project, and extensive chapter notes provide additional details. The soft pastel illustrations stand in stark contrast to the scenes they portray: Peter innocently giving the Nazi salute at a rally; Peter watching his father bicycle away for the last time. This affecting compilation will help young readers put a human face on an unfathomable tragedy, as Peter's personality shines through in his writing. This accessible tribute is an important addition to children's Holocaust literature. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2020 Gr 3–6—Peter Feigl, a German Jewish boy separated from his parents during World War II, fled from country to country to evade capture by the Nazis. This brief recounting is based on his personal diaries and interviews with the authors. Despite a thoroughly researched topic, there are several writing and formatting flaws that make this an imperfect package. The story itself is often so abbreviated that it fails to capture an appropriate sense of action or emotion. For example, "Peter's father was temporarily released from a prison camp because he was very ill. When he joined them in Auch, Peter was thrilled, but he constantly worried that his father might be sent back." The use of complex vocabulary assumes prior understanding and basic knowledge of topics such as European geography, religion, and chronology of the war, which is not provided. Words such as chancellor, Gestapo, baptized, strafing, and draconian are used without the aid of a glossary or pronunciation guide. Small images of Peter's diaries, which miraculously survived and are housed in the National Holocaust Museum, are included, along with a virtual "scrapbook" of black-and-white photos of Peter, his parents, and classmates. Supplemental watercolor illustrations in muted earth tones soften the impact and urgency implied in the text. VERDICT Despite writing and format imperfections, this is an important primary source story of a young refugee during World War II. Purchase where demand in this subject area is strong.—Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.