Jaap Penraat can't understand the Germans' hatred of his Jewish neighbors in his hometown of Amsterdam. As the restrictions multiply and the violence escalates, Jaap knows he must take action to help his friends. He begins by using his father's printing press to forge identification cards and papers for Jewish neighbors and refugees, but as the Nazi grasp tightens, he is forced to take a more drastic path--leading twenty Jews on the dangerous first leg of a journey to Paris, the...
Jaap Penraat can't understand the Germans' hatred of his Jewish neighbors in his hometown of Amsterdam. As the restrictions multiply and the violence escalates, Jaap knows he must take action to help his friends. He begins by using his father's printing press to forge identification cards and papers for Jewish neighbors and refugees, but as the Nazi grasp tightens, he is forced to take a more drastic path--leading twenty Jews on the dangerous first leg of a journey to Paris, the start of the underground pipeline to safety.
Chronicles the brave exploits of Jaap Penraat, a young Dutch man, who risked his life during World War II to save the lives of over 400 Jews.
Chronicling the daring wartime activities of a Dutch friend and neighbor, Talbott (We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story) overcomes a mildly strained narrative by virtue of his freshly conceived and powerfully rendered paintings. The story itself commands attention. Jaap Penraat is barely out of his teens when the Nazis invade Holland, and almost as soon as the Nazi persecution of the Jews begins, Jaap begins counterfeiting identity cards and other documents for his Jewish friends. In 1942 he hatches and executes a stunning plan: he forges a series of papers so he can pass as an official of a German construction company, then applies for official travel permits to bring Dutch "workers" (in fact Jews) to a phony job site in France, from which point they can be smuggled to Spain and other safe harbors. In this way Jaap and a partner save more than 400 people before they halt their operation in May 1944. Talbott saddles this real-life drama with slightly didactic exposition, and his prose is uneven ("Books held a special place in the hearts of the people of Holland"). But his illustrations pack a wallop, incorporating Jaap's forgeries and other documents in full-spread compositions, generous spot art and occasional borders. Depicting throngs of Nazis and Nazi sympathizers, for example, Talbott uses indistinct gray tones to imply the crowd mentality and reserves color for resisters like Jaap. His art revitalizes the traditional images of the war to home in on the individuality and vulnerability of its heroes and its victims. Ages 7-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
As a child, Jaap Penraat helped his Jewish neighbors by being their "Shabbas Goy," a non-Jew who performs chores forbidden to Jews on the Sabbath. As an adult in Nazi occupied Holland, Jaap did not abandon his Jewish friends. He forged identity and work papers to smuggle over four hundred young men out of Europe. This exciting account dramatizes Jaap's first rescue mission, depicting Jaap as a calm and clever hero who young readers should find inspiring. The book provides straightforward historical background without graphic details of horror, making this sixty-four-page volume suitable for elementary school readers. Talbott's topnotch illustrations are well-designed, amplifying the text in an arresting manner. For example, one double-page spread shows Hitler's head on a map of Europe. Barbed wire tentacles extend from the despot's head, suggesting a demonic octopus with myriad arms. Another double-page spread surrounds text with images of Nazi storm troopers. This book engages the eye, the mind and the heart. It could be well utilized in values curriculums. ESL students and older reluctant readers who need high interest/low reading level books should also find it stimulating. 2000, G. P. Putnam. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Jackie Hechtkopf
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Throughout his life, Jaap Penraat had Jewish friends. When the Germans occupied Holland in 1940, it seemed reasonable that he do whatever he could do to help them. Trained as an artist and architect, he began forging ID cards, moving quickly on to permits and exemption papers. Later he employed Jews in a small company making religious statues. Two months in jail reinforced the man's determination to work against the Nazi relocation campaign, and he concocted a plan to smuggle a group of people out of the country. He eventually helped 406 people escape. This compelling biography describes how the boy who, according to a neighbor, liked doing mitzvahs, became a man whose heroism was later honored by the Dutch government and by the Israeli Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs' Remembrance Authority. The author's personal connection to and affection for Penraat is evident in the warmth of his descriptions. Unfortunately, much of the story is told through unattributed or fictionalized dialogue, and while the imagined conversations have the ring of truth, they are not supported by any documentation. Competent watercolors and pictures of forged documents lend some authenticity, but today's young readers have come to expect explicit sources for factual accounts. General statements and information presented only on the jacket are insufficient.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Hudson Talbott has written and illustrated over twenty books for young readers. His books have been made into films, musicals, and have won several awards, including a Newbury Honor.
Hudson grew up in Louisville, KY, the youngest of four children and the only one with an interest in the arts. Despite his parents' orientation toward sports, they supported his artistic pursuits, allowing him to study art in Italy. After living abroad for several years Hudson began his career in New York as a free-lance designer/illustrator commissioned by such accounts as The Metropolitan Museum, The Met Opera, Bloomingdale's and the Museum of Modern Art. There he created his first children's book called "How to Show Grown-Ups the Museum". His next book, "We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story," was produced as a feature-length animated film by Steven Spielberg. Hudson also collaborated with the composer Stephen Sondheim on a book adaptation of the composer's musical "Into the Woods." Two other books, "River of Dreams" and "O'Sullivan Stew" have since been adapted and produced for the stage as children's musicals.
Hudson's lifelong impulse to travel has informed the subject matter of several of his books. "Amazon Diary" came after his trip to the Amazon rainforest where he journeyed with a jungle doctor who brought malaria medicine to remote indigenous tribes. "Safari Journal" was the product of his travels with a wildlife veterinarian in Kenya. Hudson is currently working with an orphanage in Laos, to develop a program for teaching English and art to the children there.
Hudson lives in New York and commutes between his loft in Manhattan and his farmhouse in the Hudson Valley, where he lives with his two cats Holly and Jasper. His newest book was created at their insistence. It's called "It's All About Me-ow".