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Then (Once Series) Paperback – May 21, 2013
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“* In a conclusion both devastating and hopeful, the innocence and maturity of Felix's narrative voice conveys human resilience when faced with the impossible.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“* Sequel to the searing Once, this tale of young people trying to survive in Poland during World War II is equally powerful. . . . Despite all the grinding misery and the moments of sheer terror, Felix retains his humanity, and a reader surely must walk with the protagonists on their long and tortured journey.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“* While the protagonists are young, this book is for older readers as it spares nothing in its imaginings of the losses and horror that were the Holocaust.” ―School Library Journal, starred review
“There is no triumphant climax, and right up until the shocking end, the story of hidden children will grab readers with its details of the daily tension of rescue and betrayal.” ―Booklist
About the Author
Morris Gleitzman has been a frozen-chicken defroster, fashion-industry trainee, department-store Santa, sugar-mill employee, and screenwriter, among other things. Now he's one of Australia's best-loved children's book authors, with books published worldwide.
Top customer reviews
Since this story is really sad even for me, some of the words kids would not understand it is such a great book and I think kids above the age of 9 should read it. I would give the book 5/5 stars it’s such a great book and I think you’ll enjoy it.
For the rest of the book, they have encounters with various characters, including the son of the matron who ran the former orphanage and now lives in the woods, part of the Resistance. Felix, in his naiveté, is trying to find his parents, in order to warn them not to buy Jewish books because the Nazis don't like them. The reader must accept Felix's and Zelda's naiveté to accept the premise of the book, which has several topsy-turvy events that defy the reader's expectation. Throughout all their adventures, Felix compares their plight to what happens in a favorite book of his, but this isn't fiction, it is their lives. The wife of a German soldier becomes their surrogate mother; her husband, a German soldier, becomes a deserter who hides in the hole in the barn floor that Felix had dug for Zelda to hide. The menacing man in the truck, obviously a Nazi sympathizer, is not--he hides Jews. Their adventures are impressive and frightening; the dangers are real; the innocence of the children will draw the reader into worrying about them; and the suspense is structured to increase throughout the story, which culminates in a startling finale. I say "Cheers" for both Then and its predecessor, Once.
Marcia Weiss Posner
Felix's story is poignant and heartbreaking. The author does not gloss over anything, and does an incredible job of showing the reader what things looked like to a child of the time. Felix is still a storyteller, but most of all he is a survivor and he uses his skill to not only look out for the physical safety of his adopted family, but also their psychological well being. He has changed from the naive boy we met in Once to a young man perceptive beyond his years. His ability to still hold on to his true self was the triumph in a story that offered few happy endings.
This is a compelling read that offers a unique perspective on a terrible time. The author states in his afterword that "This story is my imagination trying to grasp the unimaginable". He does a fantastic job in taking us one step closer to truly understanding what took place, and his work will no doubt encourage many young readers to further their own historical explorations. This book continues an important story that is not to be missed.
Most recent customer reviews
It must be a miracle that his specs never get broken despite the number of scrapes he is in.
This series should be a must read for every student (and adults as well).