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Once (Once/Now/Then/After) Paperback – 23 Feb 2006


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Once (Once/Now/Then/After) + Then (Once/Now/Then/After) + Now (Once/Now/Then/After)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; First British Edition edition (23 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014132063X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141320632
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 10,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"Like "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" (rev. 9/06), this Holocaust parable plays its main character's naivete against readers' likely knowledge of the historical realities, but here the juxtaposition is believable and not at all precious; like "The Book Thief "(rev. 3/06), the novel extols the power of storytelling in the face of tragedy, but "Once" pits Felix's stories against even deeper ugliness. ... Gleitzman manages to find a grain of hope in the unresolved (and likely dire) conclusion, but this is the rare Holocaust book for young readers that doesn't alleviate its dark themes with a comforting ending."--"The Horn Book, "Starred Review"This gripping novel will make readers want to find out more"--"Booklist"

Review

"Morris Gleitzman's children's stories are among the most widely read and loved." (AudioFile Magazine)

"Morris Gleitzman has discovered the difficult trick of changing reality so that poignancy and laughter are never far apart." (The Australian)

"Gleitzman's reading is flawless and as a result the three disc, three hour listening experience seems to last only minutes. Gleitzman's postscript places the story firmly among the actual events of Hitler's Holocaust adding another instance of where 'Morris Gleitzman has discovered the difficult trick of changing reality so the poignancy and laughter are never far apart.' The cover artwork is identical to that of the paperback edition and the listener is privileged by hearing the author read his own inner creative voice as no one else can. This short audiobook, complete and unabridged, is a must for every school library. Listeners will not baulk at the three discs and three-hour investment of their time. In return, they will be privy to a new genre of comic but no less insightful historical fiction." (Fiction Focus)

"Set during the Holocaust, this is the tale of Felix, a young Jewish child who runs away from a Catholic orphanage to try and find his parents. He meets other orphans who join his journey, and he is eventually forced onto a train heading for the concentration camps. Gleitzman spares no horror divulging details of Nazi brutality, and he conveys the truths in small bits through Felix’s present-tense viewpoint. Felix copes with the tragedy of his life through storytelling, making the audio most effective. Always seeking to see the bright side, Felix helps others escape through fantasy as well, weaving tales to make those around him feel better. Gleitzman's resonant voice, hushed tones, Australian accent, and impeccable pacing draw listeners to this compelling tale. A hauntingly hollow Jewish musical refrain separates chapters and enhances the mood." (Booklist) --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Once I was living in an orphanage in the mountains and I shouldn't have been and I almost caused a riot. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on 14 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
I asked my teacher if I could read Once.I'm only just 11.She said I could but it was quite sad and grownup.Its not rude but it could make people cry. I would say anyone over 8 years old could read it.The writing is farly big but dont be embarrassed to read it as I dont know ANYONE who does't like it. I think this is better than Michael Morpurgo's best books, better than all the Harry Potters but that is my opinion. Please read it as its not that famous but when you pick it up you will feel like your there in 1942. You may get a bit confused at the beginning but either carry on reading or read the paragraph again,whatever you do don't put it down or pretend to put it somewhere then loose it. You should try getting it from the library. It probably won't take that long to read it as I read it in 4 days. I'm not a bookworm but I really got stuck into this book. There are three of them in the series Once,Then and now.I'm about to start Then but everyone says Once is the best and you have to read it to read the next one.
PLEASE READ IT YOU WILL NOT FIND A BETTER CHRISTMAS PRESENT THEN THE SERIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PLEASE READ.PLEASE READ. PLEASE READ. PLEASE READ THE AMAZING, WONDERFUL INSPERING BOOK NOW.
Sophia age 11
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88 of 93 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Jan. 2006
Format: Paperback
My 10 year old read this book in two days and loved it. It's written in very simple language from the viewpoint of a young Jewish boy in Poland in 1942 who is trying to find his parents. The plot is simple but riveting and unusually is written in the present tense. For my son, the story was paramount and although the subject matter is harrowing for an adult, children seem to be able to detach themselves. When I read the book, I couldn't put it down!! It brilliantly captures the thinking of small boy in a frightening, violent world, and charts his journey from endearing naivety to crushing realisation of the truth. The book also highlights the humanity and resilience of the time without ever sentimentalising. The ending is very cleverly done, its ambiguity allowing the reader to complete their own story. For me, this was one of those books that leaves you thoughtful for days and has a profound effect, you feel that the subject matter will never be the same again! An exciting, thought-provoking read for children, a harrowing, but uplifting read for adults and a great book to discuss with your children after you've both read it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jenny, Wondrous Reads TOP 500 REVIEWER on 3 Feb. 2009
Format: Paperback
Once is very similar to The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, both in style and theme. It's very easy to read, is told from the perspective of a young child, and is set during the events of the Holocaust.

Felix is almost ten years old, and is living in an orphanage in Poland that his parents sent him to in 1939. Three years and eight months later, he receives a whole carrot in his soup, which he thinks is a sign from his Mum and Dad, and that they are finally coming back for him. This inspires him to escape from the orphanage, and journey across Poland in the hope of finding his parents.

Along the way, he encounters Nazis (whom he thinks dislike Jews because of their love of books), an orphaned young girl, Zelda, and a dentist hiding a group of young Jewish children.

Felix's innocence and naivete is a big part of this story, as he often mistakes truly horrific events for mistakes or accidents. A child's viewpoint is perhaps the most shocking way to depict the Holocaust, as children see so much more than adults, and see things in a different way.

This story is funny in parts, especially with Felix and his childlike thoughts of carrots and nuns. It quickly becomes shocking and more difficult to read, and this is due to Felix experiencing the unspeakable horrors of war, and what was really going on in Poland in 1942.

For anyone who likes war fiction, as I do, then this, along with its sequel Then, is a must read. Morris Gleitzman has succeeded in writing a story of friendship and desperation, and has managed to recreate the harrowing journey of a Jewish boy with his heart set on reuniting his family.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Philippa on 10 Feb. 2006
Format: Paperback
'Once' is one of the most moving, emotional and entertaining books I've read in a long time.
It's about a 9-year-old Jewish boy who's in a Catholic orphanage, believing that his parents are off sorting out their bookselling business and will be back for him any minute. All the evidence points to his parents being dead, but the boy thinks up more and more elaborate (and humorous) explanations for his circumstances, and stays cheerful, because he 'knows' his parents are coming back for him soon.
He runs away to find them and finds Nazis clearing the people out of his town and killing people. Even while the boy is trying to make sense of the horrific things he sees, the story remains uplifting, and there is humour in the most dire of circumstances.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Krnhpkns on 25 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
Here is a book review written by a few pupils in my class. It is all their own work and expresses their own opinions about a book that I read aloud to the class as a serial while studying World War II. As a teacher I feel that the book has added depth to the children's knowledge and I will definitely choose to use it again with a different class.

Once is a great novel. It's a gripping tale based on real life events and fact. The book is very emotional and not for the faint hearted. I highly recommend this book for any child age ten and above. The story is well written and gives you hope in the darkest of times.

Once is about a ten year old boy called Felix who has been living in an orphanage for almost four years. He spends most of his time thinking about his Jewish book-selling parents. Then in his hot, lumpy soup one day he finds a whole carrot - this carrot means a lot to him because he believes it's a sign from his parents. So he finds the need to go and look for them.

Felix is a naïve, hopeful boy. Throughout the course of the story he becomes more realistic. There's four books in the
Series - Once, Then, After, Now. As `Once' is a great book, I think all the other books will be amazing.
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