From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-This brief novel opens in Berlin in November, 1938, as 11-year-old Marianne Kohn is forced to leave school because Jewish children are no longer allowed to attend classes with Aryans. She becomes friends with a boy who is visiting in her building, but later learns that Ernest belongs to the Jung Volk, the boy's branch of the Hitler Youth. Their friendship, however, has a contrived happy ending. Meanwhile, Marianne's mother, a volunteer at an orphanage, is busy making arrangements for a Kindertransport, in which hundreds of German Jewish children will be sent to safety in England. When one of the youngsters becomes ill, Mrs. Kohn makes it possible for Marianne to take her place. The story ends as the girl boards the boat taking her to England. Readers are left wondering what happens to her. Even though Watts herself was a participant in a Kindertransport, the story lacks vitality and immediacy. The characterizations are predictable; the story line is slight. Olga Drucker's Kindertransport (Holt, 1992) is a much better choice, giving a more complete portrait of life during this terrible time.Malka Keck, The Temple Tifereth Israel, Beachwood, OH
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5^-8. "Dogs and Jews not admitted." Watts was one of the 10,000 Jewish children who were sent from Nazi Europe to Britain in the Kindertransport rescue operation in 1938; her moving autobiographical novel personalizes what it was like to be a Jewish child in Berlin at the time. Marianne Kohn, 11, is locked out of her Berlin school; synagogues and Jewish shops are looted and burned; her father is in hiding; the streets are loud with violence and marching Nazi youth. As the violence gets closer and Marianne must hole up in her apartment, she fiercely resists her mother's decision to send her away. Olga Drucker's Kindertransport
(1992) and Dorith Sim's picture book In My Pocket
(1997) tell of the children's leaving and their journey to foster homes. Here the focus is on the racist persecution that drove parents to send their children away to safety. The mother is idealized, but her heartbreaking letter to Marianne ("One day you will understand why I had to let you go") is as unforgettable as their anguished parting. Hazel Rochman