A Traitor among Us

A Traitor among Us

by Elizabeth Van Steenwyk
     
 

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Other Editions: Hardcover

It is the fall of 1944, and World War II grinds on. Although the Germans have occupied Holland, the courageous Resistance movement constantly undermines them. Thirteen-year-old Pieter Van Dirk, who is part of the Resistance, knows there’s a traitor in his

Overview

Other Editions: Hardcover

It is the fall of 1944, and World War II grinds on. Although the Germans have occupied Holland, the courageous Resistance movement constantly undermines them. Thirteen-year-old Pieter Van Dirk, who is part of the Resistance, knows there’s a traitor in his village—someone who would reveal his identity to the Nazis if his undercover work is discovered. But who is it?

As Pieter takes more and more chances, the shadow of the traitor is everywhere. The obvious suspects are the Nazi soldiers, but Pieter begins to wonder if it’s one of the villagers themselves. Could it be Mr. Van Der Meer, who teaches his students about German writers? The local doctor, who treats German soldiers? His uncle, who feeds them at his tavern? The suspects multiply as the suspense increases—and the stakes grow higher.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sharp period detail. . . . Almost cinematic tension. . . . The climax—a furtive, after-curfew bicycle ride in which Pieter flushes out the traitor—is heart-pounding.
Catholic Library World
Historical fiction, mystery, “scary book,” what more could you ask for? A book that appeals to both boys and girls? A Traitor Among Us fills the bill on all counts.
CBA Marketplace
Aching for food. Pulsating fear of discovery. Breathing soundlessly. Lying inertly in the grass. . . . A Traitor Among Us is so suspenseful that readers breathe almost as soundlessly and shallowly as the characters.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
If readers can overlook one or two leaps in narrative logic and some patches of formulaic prose, they could easily become engrossed in this suspense story set in 1944 Holland. At 13, Pieter has seen the Germans arrest his father and even confiscate his dog. While his two older brothers are off fighting with the resistance, Pieter delivers underground newspapers in the village. As the Allies begin to land, the resistance steps up their efforts, and Pieter's errands grow increasingly dangerous, especially after a wounded Allied paratrooper is brought to Pieter's house. To make things worse, everyone knows there's a traitor in the village (the blanket assumption that there is only a single traitor is one of the book's flaws). Whom can Pieter trust? His teacher makes suspicious references to the years he spent studying the "beautiful" German language in Munich; Pieter's slow-witted, tag-along cousin seems to know too much; the village doctor's weakness for brandy may have loosened his lips. Van Steenwyk (Three Dog Winter) camouflages the weak spots in her plotting with sharp period detail and with almost cinematic tension. And the climax--a furtive, after-curfew bicycle ride in which Pieter flushes out the traitor--is heart-pounding. Ages 9-14. (June)
Children's Literature - Rebecca Joseph
In Nazi-occupied Holland in 1944, thirteen-year-old Pieter becomes increasingly more active in the world of the Dutch Resistance. Determined to help fight against the Nazis, Pieter must be extra careful because of an unknown traitor in his town. Pieter risks his life, time and time again, to defeat the Nazis and helps uncover the identity of the traitor. While the Dutch town is fictional, many of the events in the novel are based on historical experiences. A gripping read.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-Pieter Van Dirk, 13, collects cigarette butts dumped from trains carrying German soldiers as they travel through his town in Nazi-occupied Holland in 1944. He and his friend Jan trade the tobacco for food; it is a highly risky business, but it is essential to their starving families's survival. To add to the danger, Pieter's mother is hiding a wounded Jewish American soldier in their house. Van Steenwyk incrementally creates the tension-filled milieu. The boy feels the need to look over his shoulder constantly for he senses that there is a traitor in the town. Though at times done in a heavy-handed way, the author fills readers in on her characters' backgrounds. Pieter's father and brothers have been arrested because of their involvement with the Resistance. In spite of his fear, the young teen is willing to act as a courier for the movement and to take life-threatening chances because of his hatred for the Nazis, and because he has a crush on Beppie, another young Resistance fighter. Pieter is a fleshed-out character who strives and succeeds to be brave beyond his years. The romantic angle is not as carefully developed. Still, Pieter's adventures will hold readers' attention and they present another perspective on the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. An additional purchase where Ida Vos's Hide and Seek (1991) and Anna Is Still Here (1993 both Houghton) are popular.-Renee Steinberg, Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802851574
Publisher:
Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date:
08/28/1999
Edition description:
PBK ED
Pages:
143
Sales rank:
1,185,251
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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