Customer Reviews for

The Devil's Arithmetic

Average Rating 4.5
( 174 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(115)

4 Star

(43)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Excellent introduction to the Holocaust for young readers

Hannah is a young Jewish girl who is bored with the seemingly pointless traditions of her heritage and the ranting and raving of her Holocaust survivor relatives. During the Passover Seder, she is asked to open the door for Elijah the Prophet and finds herself transport...
Hannah is a young Jewish girl who is bored with the seemingly pointless traditions of her heritage and the ranting and raving of her Holocaust survivor relatives. During the Passover Seder, she is asked to open the door for Elijah the Prophet and finds herself transported to a small Polish village in the 1940's.


Now known as Chaya, she is overwhelmed by the change in setting and wonders if her memories of a modern world are real or just a forgotten dream. At a wedding ceremony, the entire village is rounded up by Nazis and Hannah remembers the terrible things that are about to happen to the Jewish villagers.


Despite her pleas and protests, history continues to unfold in the same way and the journey of the villagers and Hannah to a concentration camp is described in vivid detail. Hannah is forced to experience the harsh conditions and inhumane treatment that her older relatives had described to her a lifetime ago. At the novel's grim climax, Hannah finally understands the importance of sacrifice, and subsequently, of remembering the horrible events of the past.


Although the subject matter is heavy, this is a great book for introducing young readers to the Holocaust. It is accurate in its details, seemingly derived from Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz (AKA, Is This a Man?) and other sources. Yolen's narrative structure is very well-suited toward drawing in readers who might not be interested in the subject.


[Disclosure: This review also appears on FingerFlow.com, a site for review and discussion of creative works.]

posted by JosephCopeli on August 5, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

from a teacher's view

I ordered this book from Scholastic for my classroom. After reading it, I realize that it is more suited for Jr. High or High School students than 4th graders. Although I think that younger students benefit from learning about the Holocaust, I think books more like N...
I ordered this book from Scholastic for my classroom. After reading it, I realize that it is more suited for Jr. High or High School students than 4th graders. Although I think that younger students benefit from learning about the Holocaust, I think books more like Number the Stars are more age appropriate for 9 and 10 year olds. being sent to a concentration camp. The story told has a magical element of time travel, that she had a hard time selling to me. However, the purpose and story is there.

posted by PricelessReads on June 10, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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