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4.5 out of 5 stars63
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 10 January 2014
This series is well written, but in line with many of the books my children are required to read for English I have serious concerns about the level of violence. I certainly think parents should be informed when younger children are reading it for school that parents should be forwarned to read it first and be prepared to deal with any issues arising. As a story of the Holocaust it is going to contain knowledge of man's inhumanity to man, but that isn't something children should be dealing with without the support of their parents. Or am I just an Idealist?
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on 26 August 2015
I started reading once at school as a class book and from the moment I started I knew I wouldn’t be able to put it down. 1 week later I read 50 pages further than the class was allowed before realising what I had done. That’s how captivating the book is.
Once is an amazing book written by Morris Glietzman. It is all about a boy’s (Felix) point of view during Germany and Holland’s holocaust. It is written in the present tense and only covers a relatively short period of time of his life.
Felix starts off in an orphanage where his parents put him to keep him safe from the Jew hating Nazis, Felix doesn’t know that the Nazis hate Jews and thinks the world is one peaceful land. When he receives a whole carrot in his soup. Thinking this is a sign from his mum and dad he sets off to find them.
On the way he finds an orphaned girl named Zelda whose parents were Nazis and were killed by the polish resistance. At every stage of his journey his idea of reality gets worse and worse and he starts to realise his parents might be at a concentration camp.
I think this is an amazing book that will captivate even non-readers. I would recommend to anyone over 8.
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on 3 March 2012
Once, is set in one of the world wars. It is the touching story of a boy called Felix who sets off on a journey to find his parents. On his journey he meets a six year old little girl, called Zelda. Zelda helps him on his journey to find his parents and together, they make new friends, discover new things, and experience and see dreadful things that they never thought would occur.
Felix's emotions are beautifully described and i really believed every word he was saying, even though i knew it was just a story.
Some bits made me cry and some bits made me laugh. The ending, i think, is so well thought out, it is just perfect, it makes you want to read on, it leaves you at an exciting, but very sad cliffhanger, so sad that i cried.
This is a must read, full of exciting moments and moments when you are hoping that nothing will go wrong. An amazing story!!!! I also like the fact that every chapter begins with the word..... Once.
I reccomend it for ages 10+.
Will Felix find his parents?
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on 1 March 2012
An amazing story that is full of innocents. It tells of tragedy and cruelty. Love and growing up in horrific times. This story has made 10 year old boys in my class cry. A book that moves children is fanastic. This, along with then, is the best book of this theme I've come across. Far better than the boy in the stripe pyjamas.
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on 27 January 2016
A powerfully written account of the holocaust,through the eyes of a young boy.Extremely touching,in places,due to the naivety of the main character Felix.I read it a few years back and it made me weep.Well structured ; having the ability to hold you captive as you travel along with the boy.Even when you put it down, you find yourself wondering what will happen to him next and caring! Surely the mark of a skilled writer( about a particularly sensitive subject, the holocaust and how to portray it in a way that young and old! readers will respect). It is effective at helping them to gently and powerfully grasp the fact that this atrocity happened to real people,real children and to never forget that it could be the story of any one of them.
I recommended this to a pupil I work with,who is in the 12-13 age bracket.She is hooked,keen to read on and has got me to order the next in the set! It is a must read- for any age.
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on 24 October 2012
This is a really great read and would be perfect for young teenagers learning about the atrocities of WW2. The books are written through the eyes of a young boy so the language is really easy but the themes although of course true-life would be confronting for most younger (under 11) kids in our sheltered societies.

It's the innocent voice in which the book is written that is the secret to its success, the naivety with which the main character explains away the horrors unfolding around him is amusing and keeps the whole thing readable and also (as an adult reader) more poignant.

As well as the endearing main character, the story is a classic 'road trip' voyage of discovery and is a page-turner, I read the whole thing cover to cover without stopping.

I really loved this book and am looking forward to reading the other three in the series.
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on 11 August 2015
When I first came across Once I was unsure of whether or not I should buy it - to me, it looked like just another World War II novel - but now I'm glad, really really glad that I did. The novel is about a nine year old Jewish boy named Felix, who is living in Poland during WW2. The story is told from Felix's perspective, and it shows us exactly what it is like for him, seeing the terrible things going on around him and trying desperately to make sense of them. As most of the other reviews have said, its an incredibly emotional story, sometimes comical but at other times upsetting. It makes one really realise how awful the war was, especially for the children. The book itself is a quick, easy read that's absolutely guaranteed to keep you glued to it from the minute you read the very first sentence right to the end.
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VINE VOICEon 29 December 2011
I wasn't sure what to expect when I started Once, and from the first few pages felt that the naive prose of the young narrator could get quite irritating. It didn't. I read the book in about 3 hours and found it had a very clever balance between William, the narrator's wish to turn everything into a story and the reality of the holocaust which eventually leads him to face facts, challenging a lot of his fantasies and allowing him to understand the hard truth.

An upsetting story, but a clever one, although this book is written for children I think it approaches the subject in a clever way. I would suggest adults who read it try to suspend their disbelief and treat this story as a fable, as not everything adds up, but even so I think it's a great read about a difficult subject.
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on 13 July 2012
The first in 4 books about Felix, as it follows his journey from Nazi Poland to modern day. Felix Salinger is a Jew, and his parents have sent him away to a convent school for safety, but when he receives a carrot in his soup, and then sees Nazis burning books in the courtyard, he sees it as a sign his parents are coming for him and need his help, so escapes, only to discover some of the true horrors of Nazi Poland. It has the naive charm and style of "Boy with Striped pjamas" or "Book Thief", but didn't annoy me as much as either of those, probably because of it's style. Each chapter starts with "Once", hence not only the title of the book, but this is the vehicle for Felix telling his story, as he's a storyteller. I'm interested enough to want to read the others.
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on 12 July 2014
This is a wonderful story for children aged 9-12 - depending on maturity/reading ability. I have used it with my year 7 pupils, all of whom are boys and most have English as a second or third language. They have really enjoyed reading it and about a third of the class have, of their own volition, gone on to read the stores that follow: 'Then,' 'Now' and 'After.' Colleagues and some older students have found the narrator Felix 'irritatingly naive' but the Yr 7 students don't seem to mind. When I asked one of the more able Yr 7 readers about this he commented "Felix is like your little brother; you know he's getting it wrong but you're sort of glad he does because the reality is so bad and you don't want him to be scared. " Recommended.
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