The Baby Experiment

The Baby Experiment

by Anne Dublin


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When 14-year-old-Johanna learns that her orphanage is experimenting on babies, she kidnaps one of them and sets off for Amsterdam.

Johanna is a 14-year-old Jewish girl who lives in Hamburg, Germany, in the early 18th century. She feels stifled by the daily drudgery of her life and dreams of seeing what lies outside the confines of the Jewish quarter. Johanna lies about her identity and gets a job as a caregiver at an orphanage. Until it’s too late, she doesn’t realize a secret experiment is taking place that results in the deaths of babies.

Deciding to kidnap one of the orphans, Johanna sets off for Amsterdam. She faces many dangers on her journey, including plague, bandits, storms and, not least of all, anti-Semitism. Johanna has a lot of courage and determination, but will it be enough to save the baby and reach her destination? Will she finally find a place where she can be free?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781459701359
Publisher: Dundurn Press
Publication date: 06/26/2012
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 821,718
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 12 - 15 Years

About the Author

Anne Dublin is an award-winning author of historical fiction and biographies for young people. Her books include Bobbie Rosenfeld: The Olympian Who Could Do Everything, winner of the IODE Violet Downey Book Award and the Canadian Jewish Book Award, and The Orphan Rescue, finalist for the U.S. National Jewish Book Award. She lives in Toronto.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“ Johanna is a compelling character, bright, determined and brave despite her many well-justified fears and worries. She is sustained by her faith and by her desire to see the world. She is quick to forgive and move on, always looking ahead to new possibilities…The middle school audience will be fascinated by 18th century prejudices and will root encouragingly for such a strong heroine.”

Customer Reviews

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Baby Experiment 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
JanaRose1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set in 1700 Germany, Johanna is a Jewish girl looking for work. She lies about her Jewish heritage in order to get a job as a caregiver at an orphanage. However, there are some unusual rules in place, including that the babies cannot be spoken too or comforted. When babies start dying off, Johanna kidnaps one of the babies and fleas to Amsterdam.This was a very short book. Everything seemed a bit to easy for Johanna, and she did not run into any significant problems while fleeing with the child. I also thought the characters were a bit flat and one-dimensional. Overall, I thought the premise of the book was interesting, but it did not live up to my expectations.
EvelynBernard on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Johanna is a fourteen year old Jewish girl who lives in Hamburg, Germany in the beginning of the 18th century. This book is written from her perspective. The story begins when Johanna applies for and gets a job as a baby minder in an orphanage. She must pretend not to be Jewish and she must follow strict guidelines when caring for the babies as they are part of an "experiment". Eventually, as the babies start to die she takes one and flees with her to Amsterdam where Jews are given full citizenship and rights.Any of these three topics would have made for an interesting book. Unfortunately, by attempting to deal with all three topics, the author stopped just short of satisfying me and my 14 year old niece. What was life like for Jews in Hamburg of the 1700's? I'm not quite sure.Who was behind the "experiment" in the orphanage and why? I'm not quite sure.The flight dealt with the plague, anti-Semitism, a robbery, a rescue, a sea voyage to another country - all glossed over without satisfying detail.The book left me wanting more.I would recommend this book for 10 - 12 year olds as an introduction to 18th century Jewish life and hope that it would pique their interest in learning more about any of these subjects.
lailasmum on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book and it was a quick undemanding read. The story revolves around 14 year old Johanna who gets a job at a rather unusual orphanage and then goes on to follow her struggle to rescue one of the orphans. It touches on Johanna's guilt at hiding her faith and dealing with the the repurcussions when those around her find out she is Jewish. In an limited way shows the anti semitism of the time but without really exploring any of the background to it in any depth. I think early teens will like this book, although it doesn't go into anything very deeply and ends rather abruptly so may be frustrating for some readers wanting a more meaningful read. I would quite happily read an adult version of this book with far more historical detail and following the story through to a more natural conclusion.
Prop2gether on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Being Jewish and a girl in 1700's Hamburg is not an easy life for Joanna, and she dreams of living in Amsterdam, which Jews are allowed to trade and own property. She's fourteen, and can read, and takes a job as a caregiver in an orphanage by lying about her faith. The orphanage has some peculiar rules (never interact with the babies) and Hannah's suspicions about both her job and her charges force her to act--she runs away with a baby, heading for Amsterdam.Hannah has the good fortune to be literate in an age when girls were usually not; and to meet up with (on nearly every occasion) with extraordinarily helpful strangers (some Jewish and some not). While written for a younger teen audience, the improbabilty of all that good luck seems forced. The happy ending is abrupt and seems to shortchange the lessons of the journey. However, it was a fast read, and younger teen girls may find it interesting because of its emphasis on the historical attitudes of Germans toward Jews, especially around the time of the plague.
skstiles612 More than 1 year ago
Jews have long been blamed for everything from plague to anything bad that happened. They have been persecuted for centuries. We know from our recent history how Hitler made a point of trying to wipe them out. But, did you know that in the early 1700’s they were just as persecuted and looked down on? I didn’t. Anne Dublin has crafted a story set during this time, in Hamburg, Germany. It is here we meet a young girl by the name of Johanna Eisen. She had seen a sign advertising for girls to work in an orphanage. She lies about her name to get a job to help her mother. She lied about her name because she was sure that with a Jewish name she would not be hired. Although her mother is against it, she lets Johanna go. It is immediately clear that there is something wrong in this orphanage. They are not allowed to speak to the babies and they are not allowed to hold them beyond changing their diaper or tending to their physical needs. Soon the babies begin to die. Johanna overhears a conversation between the concerned doctor and one of those in charge. It is shortly thereafter she decides she must rescue one of the babies she has fallen in love with. She makes the arrangements to escape and is caught by one of the other girls who wants to go with her. From this point on the tension is taken up a notch. Will she succeed in escaping? What about her mother? What about her friend Cecile? What will happen when Cecile finds out Johanna is a Jew? Read the book to find out answers to all of these questions and more. I would gladly recommend this book to my students and anyone who loves historical fiction. I look forward to reading more by this author.