Time: 2 hours 47 minutes
Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are "relocated," Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life.
My Thoughts: I've been wanting to read this book for many years. I've read half of The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry and highly enjoyed them. I was curious to read the type of historical fiction genre Lowry wrote. Being constantly busy, I was excited when I found an audio copy at my library. I was finally going to be able to "read" this book.
Like many children's books about the Holocaust, Number the Stars gave a vague account of a tragic time in history yet still kept the story interesting. The plot centered around two friends, one Jewish and the other not, and how they kept loyal to each other when the Nazis began to relocate the Jewish. The book did not go into great detail of the atrocities of the war, but it did give a sense on how bad it was. Listening to Annemarie's story and her friend Ellen's was heartwarming yet bittersweet. I was fascinated to learn how Denmark's people did everything possible to save their Jewish citizens. I ended up learning about a piece of history that hardly gets talked about.
As an adult, I wish there was more to this book, but as a children's book it was perfect. I would have liked for the characters and the events to have been developed more. I wanted to learn more about the Jewish people of Denmark and about the handkerchiefs. The "Afterword" was perhaps the best part of this book because it gave a bit more information on what was fact and what was fiction. It heightened my curiosity tremendously that I spent hours searching for more information. However, this is a children's book and the amount of information that it had was enough for a child to handle without traumatizing him/her.
This production was brilliantly narrated by Blair Brown. She was able to change her voice to represent each of the characters, making the characters come alive. She was also able to create the mood of the story with her pitch and tempo of her voice. Brown made the book more appealing to me even when I kept wishing for more descriptive details.
Overall, this audiobook was well done. I was able to mark off another book from my TBR wishlist and I learned valuable historical information that I would never encounter on my own. Yes, I would have liked this book to have more ellaborations with the characters and events, but it was still a great children's book. I rate it: