Monday, December 04, 2006
I had to track this book down via interlibrary loan, but it was well worth it. The girls loved Escape from Warsaw, by Ian Serraillier, so much that they've asked for their own copies for Christmas.
Escape from Warsaw tells the story of the fictional Balicki children (though the book is based on true events.) As the book opens, their father has been imprisoned by the Nazis. We learn the background of his imprisonment and then read of his escape. Then, we flash back to the night on which the children's mother was arrested by Nazi Storm Troopers. So far, so grim.
But, my girls were hanging in there. Joseph Balicki's escape from prison was daring and compelling. The anticipation that he might get home in time to find his wife and children had intrigued them. But, then came Mother's arrest, and the children's own daring escape from their home before their presence was discovered.
"I'm hooked," said Betsy. "This is good!"
And we remained hooked all the way through. We may have plowed through this one faster than any of the other WWII books we've read thus far.
The children, Ruth, Edek and Bronia, are bright, resourceful, and brave. They discover they must make their way to Switzerland to find their father. In the process they meet Jan, an orphaned boy who becomes a brother, or something like it, to them. As the narrator describes him, he was "a charming bundle of good intentions and atrocious deeds." The children also become separated and endure many hardships and setbacks. But, they remain determined to reunite and to find their father.
Escape from Warsaw was, according to the girls:
Betsy: "Great! Amazing!"
Ramona: "It was good describing."
It's due back at the library this week, so we're fervently hoping that St. Nick will see fit to bring us our very own copy soon.