Blackford, Cheryl. Lizzie and the Lost Baby
January 12th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Lizzie and her younger brother Peter are sent away from the city at the start of WWII because their father is going into the military and their mother is worried for them. They are sent to a Yorkshire Valley, where they are billeted with the uncommunicative Elsie, who has had her husband and baby daughter die. Elsie's sister lives next door, and takes care of the children to a certain degree, but there is not a lot of love or attention being paid to them. When Lizzie is out wandering, she finds an abandoned baby and brings it home. The baby is actually Rose, and she was left in the field when her brother Elijah was told to leave her by a mean family "friend" who wanted help with poaching animals. Elijah is beside himself when Rose is gone, and soon realizes that Lizzie has her. The local constabulary, however, has decided that since Rose is a gypsy baby, and her presence is comforting to Elsie, that the gypsies don't "deserve" to have her back. Together, Elijah and Lizzie work to get Rose back to her rightful home.
Strengths: This is an interesting twist on WWII, even though it doesn't talk too much about the war. There seemed to have been a lot of books about evacuated children written in the 1970s, so it's interesting to see a new one that explores issues of class at the time. I enjoyed this one and would have loved it as a child.
Weaknesses: Rather slow paced, and historical fiction is not a huge draw with my students unless it is action-packed.
What I really think: I won't buy this for my library, especially since the cover won't appeal to my students. Sigh.