Sunday, February 12, 2012

When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

Just as I set out to re-read When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit I read a newspaper article about how this book had been given to a little six year old child in her school library. The parents were naturally quite upset. Firstly because this is not a book for such a young child and secondly because they were not yet ready to talk to their child about her devastating family connection with the holocaust. It makes me sad to read about school libraries that lend books without care. I am always so concerned to match children with books and I am not afraid to tell a child to wait until they are a little older if a book is meant for a more mature audience.

Anna is living in Germany in 1933. Hitler is on the rise so wisely her parents decide to move to Switzerland. Anna's father is a journalist and of course considered dangerous to the regime. Essentially this is a story of being a refugee, of the years leading up to World War II and the rise of Hitler. There are small references to the persecution of the Jews and one tiny paragraph that mentions a concentration camp but overall this is not a harrowing holocaust story certainly nothing like The Boy in striped pyjamas by John Boyne or Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli or the Once, Now and Then trilogy of Morris Gleitzman.

When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit is a quiet, personal and gentle and would be of interest to Senior Primary students. I would follow this up by reading The Little Riders by Margaretha Shemin, Dancing on the Bridge of Avignon by Ida Vos, Fredrich by Hans Peter Richter, and picture books such as Rose Blanche by Roberto Innocenti and Let the celebrations begin by Margaret Wild.

It is also interesting to discover Judith Kerr is the author of all the picture books about Mog the cat and that When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is really about her real life experiences. You can read more abou the plot and these connections here.

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