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Author: Wild, Margaret
A moving and ultimately hopeful look at what we hold most dear when we are forced to flee our homes because of war.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 3.20
Points: .5 Quiz: 190843
Kirkus Reviews (+) (02/15/17)
School Library Journal (03/01/17)
The Hornbook (00/09/17)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2017 Gr 2–4—"When the enemy bombed the library, everything burned." This is how Wild begins her rather dark tale of salvaging one important thing when everything else is broken or destroyed. A young boy's father had borrowed a book from that soon-to-be-burned library, and when the "enemy" (never identified or hinted at) forces the people to leave their homes, the father chooses to take the book, sequestering it in an iron box. He tells the boy that the book is "about our people, about us. It is rarer than rubies, more splendid than silver, greater than gold." The father does not survive the arduous journey, and the boy buries the box with the book at the foot of a linden tree. Years later, he returns and retrieves the book and brings it back to the new library so that others can enjoy the "treasure" his father tried so hard to save. The concept of what constitutes treasure is explored ("no rubies, no silver, no gold"); instead, it is that most marvelous of things—a book. The pencil, ink, and collage illustrations are masterly. As the pages from the burned books flutter in the wind, "people caught the words and cupped them in their hands." The scraps of paper are carefully selected, in many different languages, and most evocative—"of hope," "never forget," "sang," "great empty." VERDICT This beautifully written and illustrated picture book is an excellent read-aloud and discussion starter for elementary school classes talking about war and the resilience of displaced peoples.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ - Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/15/2017 What would you bring if you had to flee your home, your community, and your country? The somber opening spread, done in muted pencil and watercolor collage, features a library and town in ruins after being bombed by “the enemy.” All the books in the town were destroyed save for “a book that Peter’s father had taken home to study. A book he loved more than any other.” The townspeople are forced out of their homes, but Peter’s father brings the treasured book with him on the trek from the burning city. This refugee parable is presented in intentionally ambiguous terms, with the collage (incorporating pages of the destroyed books) and color palette complementing the tone. Most children will appreciate an adult reader to help them understand the death of Peter’s father and the later images of Peter in an orphanage. This is not a message about the specifics of war, but one of refugees’ hopeful perseverance through cherished stories and objects they preserve for future generations. - Copyright 2017 Booklist.