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When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Essential Modern Classics) Paperback – 15 Jun 2017
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“A compassionate introduction to the whole subject of World War II” – Books for your Children
“An extremely exciting adventure story.” – Daily Express
“A charming and touching book, often very funny” – Daily Mail
“Exact, intelligent and unsentimental.” – Sunday Telegraph
“A beautifully written, moving and poignant story that is - and very much deserves to be - a timeless classic” Z J Cookson, TheBookbag
Partly autobiographical, this is first of the internationally acclaimed trilogy by Judith Kerr telling the unforgettable story of a Jewish family fleeing from Germany at the start of the Second World War Suppose your country began to change. Suppose that without your noticing, it became dangerous for some people to live in Germany any longer. Suppose you found, to your complete surprise, that your own father was one of those people. That is what happened to Anna in 1933. She was nine years old when it began, too busy with her schoolwork and toboganning to take much notice of political posters, but out of them glared the face of Adolf Hitler, the man who would soon change the whole of Europe -- starting with her own small life. Anna suddenly found things moving too fast for her to understand. One day, her father was unaccountably missing. Then she herself and her brother Max were being rushed by their mother, in alarming secrecy, away from everything they knew -- home and schoolmates and well-loved toys -- right out of Germany!See all Product description
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Anna had been enjoying an upper-middle-class life in Berlin, and is an engaging, intelligent and artistically talented child. A policeman tips off her father that the family have to leave the country, and they manage to do so literally twenty four hours before the Nazis arrive at the house. For the next three years they are refugees ("Mummy, what's a refugee?"), wandering through Switzerland, then Paris, and finally to England. Money is very tight; they can no longer afford servants so Anna's mother has to learn how to cook and sew; Anna's father struggles to sell his writing and almost dies of shame when Anna is offered charity; and Anna has to go to a school where she is the only child who cannot speak French. Little snippets of what is happening in Germany arrive via visiting adults, but on the whole, Anna doesn't hear much about that. For most of the book she regards the whole experience as a glorious adventure, and her parents help her find the humour in life - for example, her father's mock complaint that Hitler is offering such a low reward for his capture.
If this was just a children's novel, it would be a classic. Because it is also true, it had quite an impact on my daughter, who kept wanting to know what happened next, and did the entire family survive? (I haven't read the next two books, so I don't know.) It is beautifully written; it focuses very much on what a child wants to know (there are plenty of descriptions of cakes and drawing supplies and the subjects Anna studied at school), and every chapter finishes on a little note of tension, making it an exciting story in its own right. Reading age 8+ years.
Told from the perspective of 9 year old Anna, it is obviously a toned down version of one family's flight from Hitler's Germany. For children reading it, it is a gentle introduction to the Second World War and the persecution of the Jews, as well as being a sweet account of a young girl's memories of her itinerant childhood.
It is a book parent's can safely give to or read to their children without fear of frightening them too soon with the complete realities of the Second World War. For me, this is its main strength and it's easy to see why so many schools have included it in their syllabus. I enjoyed it but I have no doubt that I would have loved it, rather that just enjoyed it, had I read it as a child.
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