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The Little Ships: The Heroic Rescue at Dunkirk in World War II Hardcover – April 1, 1997
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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A girl and her father cross the English Channel to help rescue hundreds of thousands of Allies stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk. A child's vision of war's pangs and fears is crucial in The Little Ships, and Louise Borden never falters. Nor do the watercolors by Michael Foreman (and readers of all ages should get hold of his superbly unsentimental memoir, War Boy).
From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5. Through this fictionalized account, the incredible story of the evacuation of Dunkirk in May, 1940, is brought to life. Borden provides the facts through the voice and eyes of a young girl who, with her fisherman father, joins the rescue effort, hoping to find her brother, John, somewhere among the thousands of men who have been fighting in France. Foreman's watercolor paintings add to the drama, excitement, and poignancy of the narrative. The flowing transparent hues of the scenes are just right for the watery setting, and the artist adds a stronger concentration of pigments to evoke the terror of beaches and ships under attack. Foreman provides panoramic views of the ragtag fleet of boats, the burning beaches, and thousands of men fleeing; then he moves in for a stirring close-up of a floundering soldier pulled over the side of the fishingboat. He also adds the visual story of a little dog, clutched in the arms of that near-drowning soldier, and then held tightly by the young narrator as she waits anxiously for word of her brother. The book ends with further facts about the evacuation and an excerpt from Winston Churchill's stirring speech ("We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds..."). The story should prompt children's curiosity about an event that for them is part of a far-distant past and stir their hearts with this family's courage.?Barbara Kiefer, Teachers College, Columbia University, NY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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To this end, I discovered 'The Little Ships' and found myself with tears in my eyes over the beauty of the writing. For example, when the little girl is relating what she sees in the water (broken planks, army coats and boots) as she and her father are ferrying the soldiers, she sums it up by ' . . . and everything soldiers leave behind when they can take only themselves.'
The 'Snow Goose' will have to wait - although I certainly enjoyed reading it again. He's simply not old enough, but he's ready for 'The Little Ships.' The beauty of the writing and the wonderful illustrations will capture him. Best of all, the basic story is true. I'm buying two more copies - one for my library and one for the grade school. Children should know that, while we humans are capable of hideous acts, we are also capable of breathtaking acts of bravery, and they should be moved as they read about them.