Friday, January 31, 2020

Winter in Wartime

Terlouw, Jan. Winter in Wartime
February 4th 2020 by NYRB Kids (first published 1972)
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

 Michiel is the son of the mayor in a town in Holland during World War II which the Nazis have occupied. Food is scarce, and everyone is on edge. When Michiel's friend Dirk tries to steal identity cards from a distribution center in order to help the Resistance, he is caught. Michiel is supposed to deliver a letter from Dirk, but is leery of letting anyone else know what his friend's plans were, so opens the letter himself. Dirk has been taking care of a downed British pilot, Jack, and Michiel takes over, even though the extra food is difficult to obtain. Since the pilot is injured, he tells his sister Erica, who helps care for the man. Things become even more difficult when a German is found dead in the woods. The Gestapo round up ten men from the village, including Michiel's father, and when no one comes forth, his father is shot to death. This steels Michiel's determination to work with the Resistance, even though this work is very dangerous. Some missions go better than others, but the general feeling is that the Germans must be thwarted at every opportunity, no matter how great the cost.
Strengths: Like many older books about the Holocaust, this is a first hand account of  the deprivations of war. Like Shirley Hughes' Whistling in the Dark, there are details that one would know only from living through this time period. Wooden wheels on a bicycle! Wow.
Weaknesses: This does have a bit of an older feel to it, but it still moves quickly.
What I really think: There is a Follett Bound copy of this available, and I think I will purchase it. About half way through, I remembered that I had read this before, but I no longer have the 1976 copy (pictured at left) in my library; it was very worn out and started to smell. The new cover and fresh pages will help boost circulation!

Ms. Yingling

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