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The Shadow Children Hardcover – October 18, 1994

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First edition (October 18, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688132812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688132811
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,656,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8-Etienne, 11, looks forward to his summer at Grand-pere's farm near Mont Brulant. This year, though, things are different, for he sees ragged refugee children no one else notices and discovers artifacts in the woods where railroad tracks used to run. He meets Isaac, the children's teacher, and hears the whistle of a nonexistent train. Slowly, Etienne realizes he is reliving events that occurred years before, during World War II, when the Jewish children in the town were turned over to the Nazis. Schnur's novel is poignant and haunting. Etienne's direct, first-person narrative draws readers into his world, one of pleasure and puzzlement, action and reflection. The fantasy elements are smoothly integrated into the story, and add a unique slant to a frequently covered topic. A thought-provoking addition to the World War II literature.
Ann W. Moore, Schenectady County Public Library, NY
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. Etienne has always spent idyllic summers on his grand-p{Š}ere's small farm near a French village in the years after World War II. But the summer Etienne turns 11, he loses his innocence after discovering a terrible secret. He learns that thousands of Jewish refugee children once found shelter there, but when the Nazis came, the villagers--including his grandfather--abandoned the children and let the Germans take them away. On one level, this is a suspenseful ghost story: who are the ragged children hiding in the woods? Why is Etienne the only one who sees them and hears their sobbing? On a deeper level, it's a story of haunting guilt. It's as if the boy is seeing his grand-p{Š}ere's guilty memories, including the clashing transport trains that took the children away forever. The prose is spare and beautiful, and the expressive charcoal illustrations move from the warm affection of the present to the shadowy horror that won't go away. Occasionally, the lesson is too heavily spelled out and the victims are too saintly, but there's no reconciliation. Grand-p{Š}ere is loving and wise, and he would do anything for Etienne, but during the terrible war, he was like most who had "sacrificed the stranger for their own safety." Readers will be moved to ask: what would I have done? Hazel Rochman

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Linda Reis on May 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Etienne has been journeying up from the busy life in the city of France to the deep country on the base of Mont Brulant to spend the summers with his Grand-pere for as long as he can remember. He loves to spend time on the farm not only enjoying nature, but taking care of the sheep and chickens and harvesting the crops and pears. However, this time is different; this is the first time he is going alone, without his family. Etienne and his Grand-pere are enjoying their stay together until Etienne begins seeing starving children dressed in rags begging him for food. He seems to be the only one seeing them. Whenever Etienne mentions it to his Grand-pere, he becomes angry and tries to change the subject. There is something that his Grand-pere isn't telling him; he needs to find out. One day, Etienne takes a ride to the foot of Mont Brulant, and something very peculiar happens. As he ventures into a clearing of trees he sees a road that seems to lead to nowhere and various items belonging to children; a bracelet, a pen, a pocketknife. Etienne keeps on hearing and seeing the children that only seem to appear in the shadows. Are they real? Are they ghosts? Etienne knows that there is something wrong with the little town! What is it? Finally, Etienne forces out of his Grand-pere the history of the little village in the county. World War II had not been an ordinary war; it had not only been fought between soldiers, innocent people had been killed and persucuted. The children had been sent away to this town in hope that they might be able to hide. For a while, the people of the village hid them, but too many came. When the Nazis threatened to kill those hiding Jews, the people gave them away. They watched them herd them into cattle cars killing those who protested.Read more ›
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A Kid's Review on March 10, 2004
Format: Library Binding
The shadow children is a good book to read Etienne�s grandma dies Etienne goes to his grandpas farm to help harvest the pears and to ship them in. Etienne finds items from years ago and he starts to see ghosts one is name Isaac he helps feed the children and they tell him what happened to them years ago but if you want to find out more you are going have to read this book to see.
My opinion is that I think the thing that happened years ago should present that it tells you what happened through Isaacs�s eyes and how he helped the children to get food and try to get toys for them to play with. But the thing that I liked about the story is that Etienne finds out what happened and how it all flows together
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ryan N. Stevenson on February 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I selected this book based on the artwork inside. The charcoal drawings are atmospheric and moody. The proportion of the adults give them a doll like quality. The drawings are mostly left unfinished to add mystery to them.

The book starts out slow, and somewhat choppy to read. The plot and characters are deliberately vague, and I struggled a little with the French names. It gets better as the book goes on and reveals its mysteries.

At one point I began to worry that it would turn into a typical ghost story. But the ghosts in this story are metaphors for real regret and wanting to change decisions made in the past.

There are moments in the book that may be disturbing for young readers. Books dealing with the holocaust always are. I would suggest this book for secondary students reading about the holocaust.
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By Susan on April 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kids studying this time frame. So purchased this book. . Every patron as was enthralled to read it. Thank you very much.
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