Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Shadow on the Mountain, On the Run
When the Nazis invade Norway, Espen decides to join the Resistance movement and is frequently called on to carry messages. While the privations of war are never as terrible as they are in some places, the Nazis infiltrate every aspect of life, and the Norwegians never let up in their opposition to them. Very few Norwegians, including a boyhood friend of Espen's, join with the Nazis, because they fear the Russians more, but in general, the Norwegians do everything they can to irk the Nazis. Espen keeps up his work over a number of years until he is in danger and has to be smuggled out of the country.
Strengths: Ever since reading The Klipfish Code, I have admired the Norwegians and their tactics to irritate the Nazis. This book has enough spying and danger to make it appealing to my war-mongering boy readers, and will be great for out World War II/Holocaust unit.
Weaknesses: At 300 pages, this is a bit lengthy, and I could have done without the changes in perspective. (Which alternates between Espen, his sister, and a Nazi sympathizer named Aksel, although all the chapters are in third person narrative.)
10 October 2012, Random House. ARC from Netgalley.com
Anthony starts to be suspicious about the story that his father has been gone for two years taking pictures when he notices that the postmarks on all the letters are the same. His sister Lise admits that their father has been in jail because he is a thief, and their grandfather had a life of crime as well. Anthony wants to visit his dad in jail because he misses him, and when his father escapes and stops by their house, Anthony wants to go with his father. He does, and the two either live rough or stay with criminal friends. It's a little boring, but in one town Anthony meets a girl with whom he enjoys seeing the sights, and it turns out that her father is a policeman who is looking for Anthony's father. The two are on the run again, but it's clear that this way of life is not something that Anthony will be able to keep up for long. What is the right thing to do?
Strengths: This is a short book, and translated from the French, so children wanting a book about a French criminal are in luck.
Weaknesses: I think that something is lost in the translation, although it was interesting to read a French middle grade book.