on 3 August 2002
Anna is nine and is far to busy with schoolwork, tobogganing and making important decisions about whether wood yo-yos, are better than tin, to do more than notice the posters of the man who has a moustache like Charlie Chaplin. It isn't until one morning she finds her papa has disappeared that she starts to listen to the grownups talk of Hitler, elections and Anna's Jewish background. And then one afternoon she comes home from school to discover her missing father is uneasy over their safety and they must go to Zurich that very week to meet him that she realises how serious the threat of Hitler is.
It is the story of a lost childhood and the dissent from fame and wealth to poverty and having a price on your head. It is the story of four lives destroyed by the Nazis. And it is a true story.
It is one of the best books written about World War Two it shows the funny sad side of a childhood destroyed by hate. And the difficulties of French and English to a nine year old girl from Berlin whose mother who can't cook. This is a Brilliant book as are the sequels The Other Way Round and A Small Person Far Away. Lovers of 'Anne Franks Diary' and all the Michael Magorian's books will revel in this book of courage, pain and growing up.
on 10 March 2001
I saw this book on display in a local bookshop and was interested by the title. I picked it up and read the first couple of chapters in the shop. I was so mezmerized by it I had to buy it and once I got it home I could not put it down. The book really displys the innocence of childhood and really shows that things that can happen in life can be just as traumatic and confusing to children as they can for adults. it is a dramatic sometimes funny,sometimes poignantly sad book that takes your right into the world, and at times the suffering, innocent people had to endure because of their faith or beleifs. This book is beautifully written and I would advise any parent to let their children read this book it will teach them a lot about tolerance. A suitable book for any age not just children - I enjoyed this book from start to finish - and I'm 31!!!! I will be buying the next two in the series and then will give them to my neice to read.
on 29 December 2014
I really love this book, it is so heart touching, interesting and has a touch of fun in it! It is about WW2. I am 11 and after reading this book I immediately reccomended it to my friends. Whenever someone would ask me "what's your favourite book?" I would immediately answer "when hitter stole pink rabbit". I think you would too, after reading this book. This book is written in a 9 year old girls point of view who travels to different country's to escape from the nazis. Another great fact, is that the writer, Judith Kerr, was in this condition at the same age. She is writing how she felt then towards the war but just at a different person. Another reason I love this book so much, is because of the girls behavier towards the war. In normal books about war, the story would be very tragic and scary. Whereas in this case, the girl feels completely different. She faces life as an adventure. Not just a terrible nightmare. Every step she goes, she continues believing in herself and having fun and learning. Although the war isn't very exciting she tries her best to make it as exciting as she can. I find her a very inspiring girl to look up to even if I'm older! She's always looking up, always hoping and never gives up. That (to me) is what makes this book so great and different. The name is strange: "when hitter stole pink rabbit". It is very catchy, but doesn't mention much about the rabbit. The only part it is mentioned, is when she leaves her pink rabbit behind and the nazis take it and she feels sad for a while. I hope you've been persuaded to buy this book! There is anotherp great ww2 book I reccomend, this is much more tragic and sad, it is named the "the silver sword". I reccomend you read this book and see if you're ready for something more sad.
on 2 March 2015
This was an interesting book because you don't often get a child's perspective on what is was like to be Jewish in Nazi Germany and what it was like to have to be continually in flight. Judith Kerr was an adult when she wrote about her childhood experiences of leaving Germany firstly for Switzerland where her father, a German dissident journalist, found that even the Swiss were reluctant to publish his writing. The family then moved to France where, although very poor, the father could make some money from his writing. In France, Judith and her brother have just made the adjustment to school by learning the language and working hard, when they have to leave again, this time for England. The story ends at this point but it is easy to imagine how hard it is going to be for the children to learn yet another language and try to resume a normal life. In many ways, the difficulties are understated. I think she conveys very effectively the extent to which the family togetherness and particularly her mother's efforts shields her from the awfulness of their situation. She also shows how children adapt to things and their capacity to to enjoy themselves. However, I did get the feeling that this was perhaps a book for children as it seemed more instructive as though the author was trying to demonstrate how some Jews became refugees. Apart from the poverty of the family and the children's difficulties in integrating into Swiss and French life, it seemed a rather gentle memoir of the war. The horrors of Nazism and discrimination and the difficulties of being refugees were played down and hinted at rather than explicit.
on 14 November 2007
Content: The book describes the changing life of Anna (9), her brother Max (12) and their parents. They live in Berlin in 1933 and the Nazis are on the verge of taking over.
Firstly they are a normal family, affluent, happy, they had a nanny and a scullery-maid - but the situation converts them into a refugee family. The father is a critical journalist who writes political articles for different magazines and is an adversary of the national socialists which keep an eye on him not just because of his articles but of the fact that he's Jewish. So the family goes to Switzerland just with a few things that they don't arouse suspicion. Anna can't take her pink rabbit with her, it has to stay in Berlin.
In Switzerland the children find new friends and go to school there. The problem is that their father can't find work due to the fact that nobody wants to publish his political texts. For want of money they move to France where they hope against hope to live in better conditions.
The author's intention: The book is about a little girl who can`t say good bye to her friend in Berlin - because nobody is allowed to know that her family travel to Switzerland - she has to leave all the things which mean something to her and she has to accustom to many new things. But she manages it all and doesn't give up when it comes to the crunch. That's what she shows to her parents and also to the reader.
She's just a little person who believes in herself and her family and she's confident that they manage everything. Sometimes her firm conviction seems a bit naive- but, I mean, that depends on her age.
Facts: When Hitler stole pink rabbit" takes place between 1933 and 1935, during the time of Hitler. Fundamentally the book, which was written in 1971 and comprises 240 pages, is autobiographical. Judith Kerr, daughter of the famous journalist and detractor Alfred Kerr, describes her own experiences. The story continues in the books The other way round" (1975) and A small person far away" (1979) that's why it doesn't have a happy ending.
Impression while reading: Basically the book is exciting (family is persecuted) and in some places it is sad (uncle Julius and little dog Pumpel die) but I expected a little bit more from the title. The author just tells us twice about the title pink rabbit". So I think it stands for the good time in Germany.
My opinion: I think the book explains - suitably for children - the life of the refugee families at the time when Hitler took over and ordered to kill Jewish people, and all the consequences and historical events happening at that time. The story describes the destiny of many other families, although many didn't have the chance to go to other countries.
And so the reader, in my opinion especially children, learns that it's not important how you think about religion or where you are from because a person is a person. I think although the book is over 30 years old it's a classic and from my point of view it's still up to date and you can compare this book to the diary of Anne Frank.
Furthermore: In 1974 the book was awarded with the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis" as an outstanding children's book". In 1978 it was picturized (in German) under direction of Ilse Hofmann. The first broadcast was on 25th of December 1978, with Martin Benrath and Elisabeth Trissenaar as parents and Ariane Jessulat and Alexander Rosenberg as Anna and Max.
on 31 October 2008
When I was a child, this was my first introduction to a time in history I would otherwise have been too young to understand, and it remains the best children's story about the events of the period. Wonderful, to be read when young, then re read as you grow up, then read again to remember the fragility of innocence.
I had never heard of Judith Kerr, and once steered in her direction I have been steeping myself in her books
Judith Kerr is a writer and artist, who created classic books for young children. However, she also wrote some books for older children, young adults, and, I would maintain - not -so-young-adults, based around her experiences as a child in Germany in the early 1930s, daughter of a prominent, vocal anti-Nazi during the time the Nazis were beginning to gather power and mass support. These experiences gave rise to 3 fictional books, but books nevertheless drawing hugely on her own life, with the central character, Anna, aged 9 in this book, on the verge of leaving Germany just as the National Socialists are about to come to power. This book focuses on life in Germany through the eyes of the 9 year old, and on her refugee status as her family, with increasing desperation, work their way through Switzerland France and finally England in an attempt to find safety, a home, and employment.
This book ends as `Anna' (and of course Judith) arrive in this country in 1936. Further immersed, admiring reviews will follow!
As for `When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit' what can I say further than that Kerr's ability to make real that terrible time, and the child who was growing up at that terrible time, catapulted me immediately into reading from within Anna's experiences - though of course, fortunately, I did not personally live through those times or those places - there is a universal distillation of truthful experience that a good writer draws on, so that the authenticity of the emotion is evoked, even if the experience giving rise to the emotion differs. So............the heartbreak of being moved away from childhood friends - which happens to a lot of children, as parents relocate, for work related or other reasons, was absolutely reawakened for me, in Anna's experiences. As was the sudden intense pain of abandonment, and abandoning around the left behind toy, as Anna was told she only had room to pick one of her toys when the family fled Germany.
I have read a good few books about wartime experiences, but `the child's experience' which Kerr recounts precipitated me into something more visceral, less intellectual.
As the children's writer Michael Morpurgo, who wrote the foreword to the Kindle edition of `Pink Rabbit' points out - the experience of displacement, of being a refugee, of being made an outsider and an untouchable is not, sadly, a historical one which ended in 1945. It goes on, and Kerr's beautifully written book is pertinent for today's children and today's adults.
Lest this all sounds too dreadfully gloomy for words - she writes authentically, so even in the midst of misery is escape, is fun, is friendship, warmth, games. Suffice it to say that despite a reading experience which caught me with painful emotions, it was also one where I often giggled chuckled and spluttered with laughter.
The cherry on the cake are the beautiful drawings at the start of each chapter - Kerr illustrated her own books, and they are delightful illustrations, clear, charming, with a directness.
On to the next book, which recounts Anna's life in England shortly before the war, and during the Blitz. Being of German origin was certainly not easy for German English residents once war was declared - even if you had, as her family had, a history of opposition to the Nazis dating from when all around were refusing to take National Socialism seriously.
The title is perfect - a child's view of Hitler's monstrosity, simple yet with an overwhelming sense of trauma. Moving and dramatic, this is a beautifully narrated story of Judith Kerr's escape from Nazi Germany in 1933, fictionalised with the character of Anna standing in for Judith herself. Using her own experiences, Judith Kerr describes the journey she, her brother and her mother took across Germany to Switzerland and then to Paris, capturing the child's view in deceptively simple prose which appeals to both young people and adults. While the child reader will enjoy the story of Anna's escape from terror, the complex history and tragedy behind the story is always implied and chilling to the adult reader. The dual quality of the narrative makes this a classic book of its type.
I did not read this book till I was in my sixties but was profoundly moved by it and avidly read the two sequels describing Anna's (Judith's) wartime life in London and her grown-up self after the war. When I was reading 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea' to my children I was unaware of Judith Kerr's more complex trilogy. I wish I had read these earlier, but I am very glad I found them - better late than never. I recommend these stories, especially for children who now have little understanding of those terrible pre-war and wartime years.