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Thirteen-year-old Madeline's diaries for 1941 and 1942 reveal her experiences living on Long Island during World War II while her father is away in the Navy.
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It's 1941, and Maddie Beck and her mother live on Long Island while her father, a Navy fighter pilot, is stationed in the Pacific. After Japan bombs Pearl Harbor, Maddie's journal entries reveal her emotional growth. She organizes a club to support the war and her male best friend slowly, gently turns into a boyfriend. Claire Slemmer has a childlike voice that perfectly suits Maddie. Sounding hopeful and passionate as she utters exclamations like "Jeepers!"--she fully embodies a 13-year-old of the 1940s. The epilogue is read by Barbara Rosenblat, and her more mature tones are just right for these contextual notes. The story is engaging and emotional, with a happy ending that doesn't feel forced. Listeners will get a history lesson without even noticing. G.A.D. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, MaineFrom School Library Journal:
Grade 4-7-Maddie Beck, 13, lives with her mother in a Long Island boardinghouse while her lieutenant-commander father is stationed in the Pacific. Her mother rapidly fits in to their new community, but Maddie finds it difficult to make friends, until classmate (and crush) Johnny Vecchio learns that her father is in the Navy. After the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Maddie and Johnny organize a student group to sell war bonds, gather scrap metal, collect newspapers and used books, and make first-aid kits for the Red Cross. One restless night, Maddie takes a walk on the beach and encounters someone with a heavy accent and another threatening character. This night leads to more mysterious events that finally prompt her to call the FBI, which leads to the arrest of four Nazi agents. Then the Becks get a telegram that Maddie's father has been injured, and they prepare to move to San Francisco where he is to be hospitalized. Osborne has done an excellent job of capturing the feelings and anxieties of the time coupled with the concerns and uncertainties of young people. An excellent companion novel to Carolyn Reeder's Foster's War (Scholastic, 1998; o.p.).
Debbie Feulner, Northwest Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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