Lily Cupboard: A Story of the Holocaust


Miriam, a young Jewish girl, is forced to leave her parents and hide with strangers in the country during the German occupation of Holland.

Miriam, a young Jewish girl, is forced to leave her parents and hide with strangers in the country during the German occupation of Holland.

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Miriam, a young Jewish girl, is forced to leave her parents and hide with strangers in the country during the German occupation of Holland.

Miriam, a young Jewish girl, is forced to leave her parents and hide with strangers in the country during the German occupation of Holland.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Oppenheim ( Waiting for Noah ) tackles the delicate topic of the Holocaust, chronicling the experiences of two families--one Jewish, one not--in war-torn Holland. As the German occupation intensifies, Miriam's parents fear for their daughter's safety and send her to live with a non-Jewish family. In her new home a secret crawl space behind a wall panel becomes the girl's refuge should the soldiers approach. Although the text sometimes tenderly conveys Miriam's anxiety about separation and adjustment, this story ultimately does not ring true. The earnest, somewhat adult tone and occasionally artificial dialogue may limit the book's appeal. Children will have difficulty comprehending the scope of this ugly period in which ``many died a hideous death'' and when ``there were many heroes.'' However, Miriam's ordeal is sure to provoke further discussion and may serve to introduce the themes of war and racism. Himler's cozy Dutch farmhouse and verdant countryside provide a gentle, comforting backdrop for the somber drama and serve as a reminder that brutality can touch idyllic settings and innocent people. Ages 6-8. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Marilyn Bagel
This story of Miriam took place in Holland during the time of the Holocaust. But it could be the account of any Jewish children whose parents' only way to save them from the concentration camps was to send them into hiding. Miriam is sent away to the countryside to live with a non-Jewish Dutch family. Sensitively told, it chronicles the wrenching good-byes that yield to life and hope in what becomes, for Miriam, a safe haven amidst the madness. When the German soldiers come, Miriam scurries to the safety of the lily cupboard behind the wall. The Dutch family portrayed here is typical of the countless families who risked their lives to hide Jewish children during the five years of German occupation.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-- In first-person present-tense narration, a young Dutch girl tells how her parents send her to the country to hide from the Nazis. Her homesickness and fear lessen when the farmer's son gives her a rabbit of her own. When soldiers come, her concern for her pet almost brings discovery, but the farmer successfully hides both child and animal. This moving story is beautifully illustrated with watercolor and gouache paintings in which warm earth tones depict the Dutch family and their home. While the text is simply worded and childlike, the picture-book format and frightening subject matter seem somewhat at odds. Children without prior background on the Holocaust may find the threat from the unseen soldiers hard to understand, despite the opening and closing statements that act as a conceptual prologue and epilogue. Used with similarly formatted World War II stories such as Amy Hest's The Ring and the Window Seat (Scholastic, 1990) or Roberto Innocenti's Rose Blanche (Creative Ed., 1986) in a classroom setting or by parents, this could provide a memorable introduction to the suffering and bravery of individuals during the war. --Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, NJ
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064433938
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/1995
  • Series: A Charlotte Zolotow Bk.
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 692,702
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 420L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.07 (d)

Meet the Author

Ronald Himler has illustrated more than one hundred books for children, including The Lily Cupboard by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim, Hook Moon Night by Faye Gibbons, and The Wall and Fly Away Home, both by Eve Bunting. His work also appears in art galleries throughout the Southwest, where he is highly acclaimed for his portrayal of the Plains Indians. Mr. Himler lives in the desert just outside Tucson, Arizona.

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