Friday, November 30, 2018


37825439McDonough, Yona Zeldis. Courageous
November 27th 2018 by Scholastic Press
Copy provided by the publisher

Aidan lives in a fishing village in England. His one brother has died in the war, but George is still off fighting. His parents are grieving Trevor's death and are weary of the war. Aidan and his friend Sally have fixed a broken radio and have been hearing transmissions about upcoming events, and when they find out about the all-call for help at Dunkirk, they make their plans. Aidan's father, quite rightly, doesn't want to risk the family boat in this endeavor, and forbids Aidan from going, even locking him in his bedroom. With Sally's help, he escapes, and the two take off for the action. They are able to help quite a few soldiers get to safety, and even help George, but since Sally has eaten for a while, she becomes faint and is handed off to the care of a family helping as well. The Battle of Dunkirk was a very serious one, and while local fisherman were influential in turning the tide, it was extremely dangerous, and several of our main characters are injured.
Strengths: This is a quick pick for reluctant readers who need to have a book about World War II for a project, but are not really interested in the topic. It has very nice notes and glossary at the back, and is told in simple, direct language. The cover is appealing and action packed.
Weaknesses: The choice to use the present tense is very odd for a historical fiction book. I also felt that the grief of the parents did not accurately represent the way that grief was dealt with at this time period.
What I really think: This is a serviceable recounting of a standard event with a decided We Were There feel, but it doesn't cover any new ground.

I rather prefer John R. Tunis' Silence over Dunkerque (1962), and my library copy looks almost exactly like this picture. A rebind when rebinds were done correctly and lasted forever!

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