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The interaction between the art and text is seamless and attractive. The text is set in a framed rectangular box that runs vertically down one quarter of the open page. The art smoothly envelops the rest of the double page spread. The art sets a sober and dignified tone. Two pages show generalized monochromatic scenes of how damaging war can be, the rest of the art remains focused in Denmark. Sorensen, an accomplished illustrator, is a native of Denmark. The respect he has for his fellow Danes is clearly expressed through the many group and individual portraits. He is able to capture the austerity of the times while creating a strong sense of place.
The thoughtful story and heartfelt illustrations will involve elementary age children in this legend while exposing them to harsh truths.
Posted May 18, 2001
Children's books normally focus on events far removed from real life. While that is fine and appropriate for stimulating imagination, children should also be given a chance to connect to situations closer to reality to stimulate character. This book does a marvelous job of commenting on the Holocaust from the perspective of some things that a non-Jewish person could have done. As such, it makes a wonderful bridge to understanding how we all must be our brothers' keepers. The story here is built around the widely reported, but undocumented, history of King Christian X of Denmark during World War II. Here are the basics of the story as described in the book. The Nazis occupied the country in 1940. The King showed his courage in many ways on behalf of all Danes. He rode down the streets each morning without a guard or any weapons. When the Nazis put their flag on the palace, he ordered it taken down and it came down. The Nazi commander said that he would put another one up. The King said that he would order it taken down, as well. When the Nazi commander then threatened to kill the next person to do this, the King said that the commander should be prepared to kill him because he, the King, would be performing this task. Then, the order came down that all Jews must wear a yellow star (reflective of the Star of David) on their clothing at all times. The King rode out the next morning wearing a yellow star, and many citizens followed his example. The story concludes with posing the question about what would happen if everyone stood up against injustice. Very nice! In the Author's note, Ms. Deedy shares the historically documented facts: (1) The King did ride unescorted daily in the streets. (2) There were stories throughout Europe in 1943 that the King had shown support for Danish Jews and had threatened to wear a yellow star. (3) No Danish Jews were forced to wear the yellow star. (4) Denmark was the only Nazi-occupied country where the overwhelming majority of Jews survived. (5) 7,000 Jews were smuggled successfully from Denmark to neighboring Sweden. (6) Over 500 Jews were deported to Theresienstadt. All but 51 survived, in part because of continuing intervention by the Danish government. This historical note is helpful for opening the door for a child to learn more about the Holocaust and the important role that non-Jews could play at that time . . . when they stood up to be counted by taking helpful actions. Some people did this openly with defiance while others helped clandestinely. At a time when some want to argue that the Holocaust never happened, it is important to open bridges back into the lessons of these awful events -- to help prevent their recurrence and to honor the victims and heroes of those days. The book is also greatly enhanced by the illustrations which remind one of Norman Rockwell's work, except with a Danish feeling. The colors are chosen to emphasize the moral conflict between the Nazis and the Danes, and give an emotional tension to the story that makes it stronger. To me, whether King Christian X actually wore the
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Posted March 7, 2013
The Danes had a highly - esteemed king ruling over them during the 1940's. They had no idea how much they might need his wisdom during this era of wickedness.
In the land of Denmark, different religions were respected, as well as different people groups. Everyone living in Denmark was simply...Danish! Tall Danes, stout Danes, cranky Danes, even Great Danes! They were all loyal subjects of their beloved King Christian. He rode daily along the streets, mingling with his people. He would do anything for them and they would do anything for him!
When Nazi soldiers gathered at the border of their country, a feeling of foreboding spread like a storm cloud upon their land. One morning their flag was replaced by a Nazi flag flying at the palace. The king ordered a soldier to take it down. The next day, a Nazi captain came to ask who had done that and threatened to hang a flag the next morning. He claimed he would have anyone shot who removed it. King Christian bravely stated that he himself would be the next soldier who removed the Nazi flag. "Then be prepared to shoot the king - for I will be that soldier." The Nazi flag never appeared there again!
The next threat was more specific. All Jewish Danes were ordered to wear a yellow star representing the Star of David, the symbol of their faith. This star would identify them to the Nazi soldiers and probably lead to terrible treatment, maybe even death. The King of Denmark was greatly disturbed and spent sleepless nights considering what he might do to protect the Jewish Danes. Early one morning, the King called for his tailor and asked him to make him a yellow star that he might wear to show his support for his people. He had gotten the idea while studying the starry sky, wondering how he could hide his Jewish friends among the rest of the Danes. When he rode through the streets the next morning wearing a yellow star, other citizens followed suit, had stars made and wore them. Soon almost everyone was wearing a yellow star, hiding the true Jews among the non-Jews. This is a story of bravery and compassion, unity and hope.
The book was written for elementary students as an introduction to the Nazi occupation of Denmark during World War II. The book is based on a legend, but more interesting are the true facts about Denmark during the war. Be sure to read the Author's Note at the end of the book. The beloved king of Denmark did indeed ride unescorted through the streets. No Jews within Denmark were forced to wear the yellow star. Also, among the Nazi-occupied countries, only Denmark rescued the overwhelming majority of its Jews. (rev. C. Karns)
DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of The Yellow Star was provided by PeachTree Publishers in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer.
Posted December 11, 2012
Posted October 12, 2012
The Legend of The of King Christian X of Denmark has been researched in hope of finding facts to prove it truthful. But none has proven as fact.
In 1940 when King Christian X was reigning King of Denmark he was seen daily, riding his horse through the streets without need of a bodyguard. He kindly greeted his fellow Danes. There was no prejudice among the people of Denmark all were Danes.
Then came the Nazis trying to force division of the Jews from the Danes ordering the Jews to wear a yellow star which would set them apart from others. This did not set well with their King. He would not let his people be humiliated in such a way.
This month of October is No Bullying Month. So what a great book to read about bullying in a most extreme way. The Nazis were the apedemy of bullying. They showed prejudice and cruelty towards all Jews.
The Yellow Star is an excellent book for teachers, librarians and children to add to their bookshelf.
It is educational in many ways, such as World War II, prejudice, loyalty, heroic justice and more.
The illustrations are very surreal as to capturing the timeline of 1940 Denmark and it's people. This illustrations are a good fit with the author's writing.
I highly recommend this book.
I received a free copy of this book from Peachtree for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. It is my own opinion.