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Stones in Water Hardcover – October 1, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
PW's boxed review called this story of a Venetian gondolier's son and two friends, one Jewish, who are forcibly taken by Nazi soldiers, "gripping and meticulously researched." Ages 10-14. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From School Library Journal
Grade 4-9?Napoli, who has written in a variety of genres?fantasy, mystery, realistic fiction, legends?demonstrates that she has mastered historical fiction as well. Sneaking into the cinema to see an American Western during World War II has grave consequences for Roberto, a Venetian middle-school student, his brother, and two friends. The young male audience is trapped by German soldiers and transported by train out of Italy as cheap forced labor. The first project, constructing a tarmac, goes smoothly, despite wretched living conditions. Separated from his older brother, timid Roberto relies on his quick-thinking friend, Samuele. Both realize the necessity of hiding Samuele's Jewish identity from their captors and fellow prisoners. When a "shipment" of Polish Jews arrive and are penned near the labor group, Roberto uses his ingenuity to help feed two Jewish girls with his meager rations. After Samuele is beaten to death trying to save Roberto's scavenged boots, Roberto escapes. He is a displaced gondolier trying to navigate his boat on a modern Styx, a hellish river journey with slim chances for survival. Few books view the Holocaust from this vantage point; few readers are familiar with the Venetian/Italian connection to the work camps. Others will be interested in this story as survivalism from the worst kind of nightmare. Many children will be ensnared by the author's paean to the art and value of storytelling. Samuele's legacy is the nourishing stories that keep Roberto alive. An intense, gripping tale.?Marilyn Payne Phillips, University City Public Library, MO
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Roberto’s life in Italy is turned around when he and his friend Samuele gets captured by German soldiers at the movie theatre. Then they broad a train to Germany and on the way he sees terrible horrors. He and his friend then go to several work camps as they build airstrips across northern Europe.
Roberto is always consistent through out he book. For instance, on page 31-32 after Memo, a kid Roberto knows calls Samuele, Enzo instead of his real name Roberto thinks, “Roberto blinked. He felt stupid, and that scared him worse. Of course he knew Samuele was a Jewish name. He just hadn’t thought fast enough. He had to think fast. Much faster.” And then later in the book it says, ”It had been terrible luck that the wolf had fallen on his blanket. No. No, it wasn’t a matter of luck. It was Roberto’s stupidity.” (p. 119). This tells us that he stays in character and doesn’t suddenly learn to be better it takes time and he still makes some mistakes
Also, the plot is strong and plays in your head like a movie. The text says after all of the sudden the movie in the theatre stops and then “The hoots mixed with screams. German soldiers marched down the aisles. Soldiers, here in the theatre. […] Everything was loud, deafening-the confusion” (p. 15) I could really imagine the whole scene in which the German soldiers came rushing in. That’s why I think the plot plays in your head like a movie.
Also, you get a strong feeling from reading the book. In the book it says when Roberto wakes up “ Enzo screamed. Roberto jumped to his feet. That’s when he realized he was barefoot. They’d slit the bottom of his cement sack and stolen his boots. […] Enzo was fighting them. […] But Enzo was fighting for his boots-for his life.”(p. 97-98). This made me feel angry at the people that were trying to steal the things that kept them warm and alive. Not only, that but they were seriously injuring Enzo in the process.
This is a little sad, but Roberto learns to keep going no matter what even if you get pulled out of his home and forced to work hard he keeps on going and trying to return home. That is why I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.
This was nothing like The Wager, this story centers on a group of Italian boys who had decided to attend an American movie in a town not too far from where they lived. Italy had just declared war on America and many older individuals were off serving their country. The movie had started when suddenly it got dark and German soldiers entered, ushering everyone out. Separated into groups, the four boys found themselves in a train car being driven farther from home. Amongst the four boys is a Jew, his star is back home and his identity is hidden for now. They have become prisoners, they are still boys yet they are working like men. They act alone but they are not alone.
I like Donna’s writing, it’s carefree and effortless. I enjoyed the friendships and all the individuals that appeared within the novel. Everyone is acting alone, everyone wants what is best for them and friendship is not a priority for anyone. Making it to another day, is what is important and the connections the boys had with others had to be adjusted to account for this attitude. I felt that it was these connections that the boys had to these individuals that made the novel, I looked forward to where their travels would take them, always hoping that as they traveled, the war would end and they could go back home. This was a fast-moving story and I am glad that I picked it up. I think my favorite part was the sled. I smiled as I imaged what they must have looked like as they walked out of that village, their sled, the sled piled high with treasures.
Most recent customer reviews
This book was about a boy named Roberto in Venice, Italy. One day he decided to see a Western style movie.Read more