The Robber and Me

3.63 avg rating
( 63 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780440415404: The Robber and Me

A School Library Journal Best Book
A Publishers Weekly Best Book

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Review:

"I was often afraid," says young Boniface Schroll, the protagonist of Josef Holub's prize-winning novel set in 19th-century Germany. "Sometimes I was afraid of tomorrow, or afraid that I would do something wrong." A city boy and orphan with a funny name and a head of girlish ringlets, Boniface is confronted by those fears when he is sent from the house of a stingy aunt to live with his uncle, the stern but decent mayor of the village of Graab.

Here he sleeps under a thick down comforter and is fattened up and fussed over by his uncle's kindly, maternal maid, Frederika. Nevertheless, he soon realizes that life in Graab is restricted by stifling rules that keep the kids in line at school and the townspeople orderly and fearful of strangers. When Boniface becomes friends with the son of a reputed robber, he fully realizes the small-minded prejudices that oppress the village and becomes entangled in a local mystery. In the end he must risk his comfortable new life in order to tell the truth.

This engaging historical novel, translated from German, won the 1998 Mildred R. Batchelder Award for excellence in children's literature. Older readers will enjoy the fascinating window into life in old-time, small-town Germany, with a short glossary of German and archaic words at the end. An old-fashioned mystery, The Robber and Me is a refreshing change of pace in middle-grade fiction. (Ages 11 and older) --Maria Dolan

From Kirkus Reviews:

It's hard to ask for more than this: an old-fashioned story that starts with an orphan, includes a mystery, and ends happily. In 1867 Germany, young Boniface Schroll is taken away from his aunt, who has been deemed incompetent to raise a boy, and sent to live with his uncle, a well-to-do mayor in the far off village of Graab. At first, Boniface's uncle seems to be a cold and orderly man of the law, and Boniface isn't sure he belongs under his care. He chronicles his adjustment to his uncle and the village community through an amiable, perceptive narrative. Boniface experiences some of the pitfalls of the provincial life through his secret friendship with an outsider, Christian Knapp, the son of a notorious robber; the Robber Knapp is a wrongfully persecuted man, and Boniface holds the key to his innocence. When Boniface shows his brave and upstanding character, his uncle makes a believable turn as a father figure. This is a sophisticated read, for those who like to escape to times past and lands far away, with a translator's note to provide context. (glossary) (Fiction. 12-14) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Holub, Josef
Published by Yearling (1999)
ISBN 10: 0440415403 ISBN 13: 9780440415404
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Holub, Josef
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ISBN 10: 0440415403 ISBN 13: 9780440415404
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