When soldiers invade their quaint town of Normandy in France, Lisette prays for an angel to help her family overcome this terrible time, in a powerful story of the 1944 D-day invasion told from a child's perspective.
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Grade 2-4-Lisette's idyllic life in Normandy changes drastically when the Nazis occupy France. Food and fuel become scarce and, when the child outgrows her favorite dress, there is no cloth for a new one. The radio her family secretly listens to brings encouraging messages, but as time passes, hope wanes. Then, one night, her brother wakens her to hear the roaring of planes and they see stars (parachutes) falling from the sky with an angel (paratrooper) attached to each of them. One lands in the garden and the children help him hide. After giving her brother a chocolate bar, the airman escapes. With Liberation, Maman will make the parachute he left behind into a dress for Lisette. At one point, a storekeeper is arrested for hiding goods for friends and neighbors, and Papa tells his daughter that there is nothing they can do to help. This moral dilemma is not dealt with and is an upsetting moment in an otherwise reassuring tale that balances a child's beliefs and an adult's understandings. Ginsburg's paintings beautifully interpret the text. He depicts a vivid contrast between free France-bucolic, blue-sky scenes-and an occupied country in which dark grays and shadows predominate. As with other picture books about World War II, the audience is the question. This is a young child's story for older children. It is a worthy addition to the literature, sharing the limitations and possibilities of the best of these books.
Louise L. Sherman, formerly at Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
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Gr. 2-4. This glowing picture book for older children is pure nostalgia. A French woman remembers back to 1942, when she was six years old, and the Germans invaded her village on the Normandy coast. Before they come, life is beautiful: words and bucolic oil paintings show that everyone is always smiling and happy. Then the Occupation brings blood-red flags on the streets and barbed wire near the beach. The roses and dancing butterflies on the girls' favorite dress fade away. She prays for an angel to save them, and after three years an angel does land in their farmyard: he's an American paratrooper. The good guys defeat the enemy, and paradise is restored "in a beautiful land." The best war-at-home stories, such as Anita Lobel's No Pretty Pictures (1998), get beyond this simplistic sentimental view of innocence lost and regained. Still, there are very few children's books about what it was like for ordinary gentile families when the Germans came. The exciting GI rescue will have special meaning for kids whose own service veteran family members--like the author's father-in-law--were there. Hazel Rochman
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Book Description Dial, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Max Ginsburg (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0803724357
Book Description Dial, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110803724357
Book Description 0-8037 Penguin. Encuadernación de tapa dura. Book Condition: Nuevo. 18/10/08. Bookseller Inventory # 241674
Book Description Dial, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0803724357