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When Anna moves to his town from Poland, ten-year-old Ben, an ordinary boy not very interested in love, discovers that having someone to love is confusing, difficult, and wonderful
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
Grade 3-5-- Ten-year-old Ben's confusing feelings about Anna, a Polish immigrant, cause him to behave in ways previously foreign to him. He alternately teases and defends her; his moods swing from uncontrollable anger when other boys talk about her to joyful anticipation when he knows he's going to see her. A sensitive and accurate picture is painted of an immigrant family, crowded into few rooms and without the luxuries Ben considers commonplace. The relationship between Ben and Anna develops quickly but believably. This sweet, simple story of friendship originally published in German reads well. Unfortunately the setting did not cross the Atlantic as smoothly as the translation. Nothing has been done to Americanize the story other than to change the name of the country in which it is set, making this a seriously flawed novel. Also, Ben's parents convey mixed messages about immigrants. The children, who look older than their age in the drawings, frequently act younger. The black-and-white illustrations, which seem to be a combination of charcoal and collage, may be off-putting to young readers; perspective and proportion are unusual, and there are some inaccuracies in their portrayal of the text. All the little inconsistencies add up to a story that won't pass muster with American readers. --Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Overlook Books, 1990. Hardcover. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # P110879514019