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Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot Hardcover – April 1, 2002


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press; 1St Edition edition (April 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585360694
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585360697
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 9.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Van Frankenbuyzen's (L Is for Lincoln) opening spread of a bombed-out West Berlin speaks volumes about the necessity of the 1948-1949 Berlin Airlift, the setting for this somewhat overwritten tale. During this time, the British and American forces flew food and basic supplies into the city after the Russian blockade cut off all access to it. After a historical note, Raven (Angels in the Dust) introduces Mercedes, a likable young West Berliner who tends the white chickens in her yard. One morning, her mother reads her a newspaper article about an American pilot, Lt. Gail Halvorsen, who, when delivering supplies to the city, "rained down sweets" on children waiting by the runway ("They carried flour and clothing and coal too. And something else!" reads the narrative). At the airfield, an older, taller boy snags the chocolate bar headed her way, and Mercedes sends Halvorsen a letter ("When you fly over the garden and see the white chickens, please drop some candy there and all will be ok"). He then mails her a package of treats ("The memory of this day would stay with her for the rest of her life"). Unfortunately, the epilogue is more compelling than the narrative: readers learn that Mercedes met Halvorsen in 1972, and the two remain friends. The close-up portraits may be static, but the artist's lifelike depictions of the devastated city are chilling; bullet and shrapnel holes mar even the girl's garden walls. Despite the cumbersome text, a sketch of an uncommonly giving man and a rare friendship emerges. Ages 5-10.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5-This outstanding picture book depicts one of the lesser-known aspects of the Berlin Airlift following World War II as seen through the eyes of a seven-year-old girl. Operation Little Vittles was run by Lt. Gail Halvorsen who, out of the goodness of his heart, began dropping candy in parachutes made from handkerchiefs to the children of West Berlin. This heartwarming story provides not only the historical context, but an epilogue as well. Although the text is slightly wordy at times, it shows, in part, how the Cold War impacted children, and how one child struggled to find hope amid the ruins of postwar Germany. It is also a tribute to the thousands of people involved in the effort. With views of devastated buildings and shrapnel holes in concrete, the full-color paintings elicit a real sense of the war's devastation.
Robyn Ryan Vandenbroek, Elgin Court Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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This true story is truly remarkable and a must to share with adults and children.
Stephanie
A wonderful read with fascinating historical information that kids and adults will enjoy.
Susan Sloate, Author, FORWARD TO CAMELOT & STEALING FIRE
One day, Mercedes mother read a story in the newspaper of the American pilot, Lt.
Laura Booksnob

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a children's librarian I have spent the past week reading Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot to my students. We have enjoyed every minute of it. Margot Raven brings Col. Halvorsen's story to an audience that is not familiar with the Berlin airlift. The book provides background and inspiration while recreating a moment in history. Have your chocolate close by when you read this one.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa Hansen on February 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
We had the pleasure of meeting the legendary Col. Halverson and Mercedes during one of his visits to Berlin this year. We invited the beloved Chocolate Pilot to speak to a small group of American Scouts and organized a book reading beforehand. Word got out and over 350 people showed up to hear this story! The audience was mesmerized. Everyone, both parents and children alike, were touched by the story of human kindness. Margot Theis Raven does a wonderful job recounting the true story of Mercedes, a seven year old German girl, who dreams of receiving a little happiness, in the form of candy, in postwar Berlin and of a kind American pilot who makes her dream come true. This beautifully illustrated book honors both Col. Halverson and Mercedes. My children absolutely love this book. And so do I! It's a true family keepsake.
Vanessa Hansen, BSA Troop 46 'Freedom Outpost'
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie on January 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot: A True Story of the Berlin "Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot": This is a true Story of the Berlin Airlift and the Candy That Dropped from the Sky by Margot Theis Raven, Gijsbert Van Frankenhuyzen" demonstrates the true meaning of the human sprit and the impact of that sprit upon generation after generation. While I was reading this story I was reminded of a saying which emphasizes how truly important our roles, as adults, are in the lives of children, ...but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child." This true story is truly remarkable and a must to share with adults and children.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mary on April 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This true story of hope, kindness and heroism is a reminder that there are American soldiers who have provided a variety of rescues for people in other countries, a reminder that every child is important, a reminder that one caring person can change the world. It also provides a bit of insight into the effect on innocent people when two countries have been at war. The illustrations are as beautiful, sweet, and historically accurate as the text. This heart-warming story gives children a true living American hero to emulate in the Chocolate Pilot and a child to relate to in Mercedes, all while teaching history. By the way, grown-ups love this book as much as children do - when I gave it to my nephew, the grandparents couldn't put it down!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Susan Sloate, Author, FORWARD TO CAMELOT & STEALING FIRE VINE VOICE on May 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A lovely story of a little-known episode in post-World War II Europe, the Berlin Airlift, and the American pilot who knew that for children, chocolates and sweets were almost more important than the basic supplies the Airlift was providing the citizens of West Berlin, so he sent those along with the rest of his cargo, and in doing so, gave them hope.

Margot Theis Raven movingly depicts an important time in history and the gallantry and heart of the man who `rained down sweets' on a city that needed it. A wonderful read with fascinating historical information that kids and adults will enjoy.

Bravo, Ms. Raven!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mike Miner on June 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Some years ago, I "dragged" my wife and son to meet the Candy Bomber when he came through town. He gave a really nice speech in which he told the story of Mercedes. Amazingly, I had finally found a pilot who hit a sweet note with them. A year or two later, they even went to meet him again, and my son caught candy he dropped at the airport. Well, when the book came out, my wife latched onto it in an instant. She was so taken with the book and the retelling of the story of Mercedes, that she has incorporated it into her class room. Super nice man and touching story. The author did a splendid job that does both justice. You'll enjoy this one!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By RJR on June 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the most beautiful childrens' book! It is a true story, I have been very fortunate to meet this pilot, Gail Halvorsen. This is a wonderful way for children to read about an important piece of history that had a lasting impact on not only a city but the millions of people saved by a great act of kindness. This particular event should not be lost, but kept alive. I highly recommend this book to children of all ages! Beautifully illustrated!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ark Lady (Diana L Guerrero) on May 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Mercedes and the Chocolate Pilot is a true story from WWII. The prologue and epilogue include historical and personal notes that will be of interest to the reader. Set in Berlin in 1948 this book will educate children and teach them how simple actions can impact others. It is an enjoyable read. More information on a related book and website can be found within.
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