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Summary: Peter Liebig is a 13 year-old who lives in Rolfen, West Germany. World War II has ended and rebuilding is well underway. Peter’s dad is an architect who is restoring historic St. Mary’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. His mother teaches school. Peter believed Rolfen was a perfect place to grow up until he discovered a packet of letters in his mothers’ bureau drawer. The contents of the letters turned Peter’s life upside down. This is an historical fiction novel set in the 1940s.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 and up
Interest Level: 9 and up
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is an exceptional book. Gloria Whelan is an award winning author. After the Train is what I believe is a piece of children's literature as opposed to children's "books."
Pros: This story is flawless and Whelan's ability to keep the reader glued to the page is exceptional.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. It is a superb example of children’s “literature” as opposed to children’s stories. The premise is believable, the characters are authentic, and the readers will be looking for the author’s next book.
Educational Themes: After the reader finishes the book, there will be many opportunities to discuss issues related to the incidents in the narrative, (i.e.) anti-Semitism, adolescence, post-war Germany, bigotry, and changes in family life.
Notes: The Reading Tub received a pre-release review copy.
Literary Categories: Fiction - historical fiction, World War II
Date(s) Reviewed: July 2009
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