The Hideout

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Heuck gracefully melds elements of fantasy and realism in another book (see Naomi's Road, above) about children and war. Rebecca is discovered alone, unable to remember her last name or anything about her parents. It is the middle of World War II, and the authorities send her off to an orphanage, but circumstances bring her to a cornfield, where she meets Sami. He hides in the field, living off the milky kernels, worried that he'll be taken off to the camps as his mother was. Sami possesses a rare imagination, able to transform their surroundings into mythical kingdoms with his stories. Even after she lives at the orphanage, Rebecca visits Sami and shares his concern about the camps, without knowing what she fears. The mouse-kings and rich meals the children imagine are far more real to them than battles and air raids; Heuck successfully projects an oddly innocent, surprisingly intuitive portrayal of war, through the eyes of a child. Ages 11-up. (March)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8 Rebecca, a young German girl found among bombing ruins so shell shocked that she can remember only her first name, is sent to an orphanage where she escapes her unhappiness through fantasy adventures that Sami, an older boy who is hiding out in a bomb crater in a cornfield, shares with her. As the withdrawing German front draws nearer, and fighting around them escalates, the children intensify their fantasy in which they find warmth, food, and security. When back in the orphanage, Rebecca maintains her link with Sami through the cornhusk doll he gives her. This is an unusual war story. The war is seen only from the point of view of a young child. Unfortunately it frequently takes the didactic tone one might use when dealing with a young child. The children's fantasy journeys are overly allegorical and heavy-handed in preaching about selfishness and arguing as a cause for war. The abrupt ending which tidies everything up neatly cheats readers with its pat solutions. There is much to appeal to young readers herea mistreated orphan, her love for her doll, and her friendship with the somewhat mysterious Sami. However, the apparent age gap between the protagonist and the intended audience, the didacticism, and the lack of any real resolution will limit the success of this book in most collections. Louise L. Sherman, Anna C. Scott School, Leonia, N.J.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525443438
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/1988
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 1
  • Age range: 11 years
  • Product dimensions: 0.10 (w) x 0.10 (h) x 0.10 (d)

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