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4.4 out of 5 stars
Once (Once/Now/Then/After)
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on 20 August 2014
Well worth reading
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 November 2009
Unique look at wartime survival through the eyes of a young child. Powerful and heartbreaking in its simplicity. It is a story that you will read in an hour, but will stay with you for much longer. Sweet, disturbing, realistic, a tiny, shining gem. It will leave you with a greater appreciation for your life.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2013
This book is one of most emotionally moving books I have ever read. It's about a Jewish boy desperate to find his parents in the middle of World War 2 . I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to everyone who enjoys this type of genre.
A very powerful book and a good read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Unlike "The boy in the Striped Pyjamas", this book had a believable storyline. It was simple, childish quick to read but you wanted to read it.
Not so horrific as "The Kite Runner" or as well written, but makes you view the Holocaust from a child's perspective.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 August 2010
Just a warning that we took this book out of the library today as my 8 yr old son is interested in ww2. Now he is inconsolable after reading it all - the blurb doesnt suggest how harrowing it is and there are some shocking scenes. Was next to the other Gleitzman titles which i am familiar with, obviously wasnt expecting it to be light-hearted but maybe it should come with a warning for younger readers.
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on 13 February 2015
great
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2009
An excellent book. A moving, sensitve, serious and funny story based around the Holocaust. Recommended for children and adults.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2010
For three years and eight months Felix has lived in a convent orphanage high in the mountains in Poland. But Felix is different from the other orphans. He is convinced his parents are still alive and will come back to get him. When a group of Nazi soldiers come and burn the nuns' books, Felix is terrified that his Jewish, bookseller parents will also be in danger. After escaping from the orphanage, Felix embarks on a long and dangerous journey through Nazi occupied Poland, befriending a little orphan girl called Zelda and a kindly dentist, Barney, who hides and cares for Jewish children. But when the Nazis discover them, Barney makes the ultimate sacrifice for the children.

As you can see, I'm not very good at creating titles on amazon.

Once is a historical novel. I have read a fair few historical novels, I would go as far to say that it is one of my favourite genres. However, there is always oen book in the genres that you shy away from. Like Twilight, for me. This was that one book. I thought it was too short to buy and I wasn't that interested in it. However, my school was offering free books, and under any circumstance do you ever turn down free books. So I got this one. I literally got it and shoved it on my TBR pile and left it there to rot. So the toher day my friend asked me if I had read it and when I said that I hadn't she said that I should and quote "its really good." On her good authority, I extracted it from the bottom of the pile and started reading.

It wasn't as bad as I was expecting, sure it wasn't extremely well-written and Felix didn't sound like he was from World War Two, but it wasn't complete torture. It was pretty interesting, because when I was in my Historical Craze I didn't read that much set in this period, and I didn't know much about it. (I do not know much this does not mean anything about it at all. I would not be able to judge if I was compltely clueless. And I do like to judge.) The authors distinct style hooked me onto the style

Felix was so naive, annoyingly so. Sure, he may have been sheltered and pretty young, but honestly. He was quite fustrating, but he had depth, I guess. He also had mood-swings. Zelda, his...best friend? Was quite entertaining. For a six year old she was pretty smart-mouthed and had me thinking now why didn't I think of that? Best character in the book. The author is certainly not sqeaumish about killing of his characters. If I was sensitive to that kind of thing then it would have been quite harrowing.

Overall, it was pretty good. Powerful. I wonder whether I will read the sequel. I think I will. So yeah, get it from the library, and read it. Thought its not worth agressive promotian from the Darkling Army (I can't help but mention them a lot. I think I'm obsessed. Oh well.), but still worth the read. Now I must go and re-finish my english report, which seems to have dissapered completely. Arrrrgh.
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10 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Felix is a young Jewish boy that has been living in a poor orphanage within WWII, hoping for the day that his bookseller parents come to save him. One day, floating in the mush of the daily soup, he receives a whole carrot and strongly feels that this is a sign from his parents that they are alive and awaiting his return. So, once a gang of strange German men come to the orphanage and burn a pile of books in the front courtyard, Felix's initial thoughts are solidified, and he takes this as a further sign that his parents need his help and he must venture off in search of them.

In terms of children's books, `Once' is the darkest, most upsetting read I have ever read. Due to the constant train of life-shattering events mixed with the somewhat annoying naivety of the main character, this can become a struggling read with few rewards. It is my opinion that the style of writing can also become irritating, including the use of the word `Once' at the beginning of every paragraph, as well as several key characters that seem to be based on but one aspect of what makes a real child. The story is extremely blunt and tangible, but the individuals you meet along the way are incomplete and seem to be fuelled by clichés and catchphrases.

Out of all the books specifically read for the log, this novel is the least accessible and has limited relevance due to the high emotional aspect of the plot. As to be expected, it is strictly for Year 5 and 6 and used only for studies of World War II from the perspective of the scared and vulnerable.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 November 2010
A great story, very moving as an adult and for my daughter. My year 6 class were also gripped and couldn't wait to hear readings of it.
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