Simple Tale, Simply Told--with an Impact

Number the Stars - Lois Lowry

This is a work of children's literature--aimed at young readers around ten years old--the age of this short novel's heroine, Annemarie during the German occupation of Denmark. It tells the story of the Danish resistance and how they saved Denmark's Jews--through the lens of one little girl. It's based at least partly on the stories of Lowry's friend Annelise Platt who was a child in Copenhagen during those times.

I did like it, but didn't think I'd wind up liking it quite that much even half way into it--though I was never tempted to stop reading. This is pitched a bit low for an adult reading it for the first time without a haze of nostalgia. It doesn't have the word play of a Lewis Carroll or the whimsy and imagination of a C.S. Lewis--or Madeleine L'Engle or Rudyard Kipling for that matter--that raises to a work of literature even an adult could appreciate on first reading. The prose is spare and simple--childlike with a bit of a fairy tale quality, or at least motifs, that befits a tale told in the land of Hans Christian Andersen. But what it does have is good storytelling and a good story to tell. I'd hesitate a bit recommending it to an adult--and maybe in that regard this is more a three than a four star read. But I'm sure I'd have loved this had I first read this as a child--a five star read for sure for anyone that age. So maybe more recommended for someone looking for a gift for a child. But I'll say this--I did ultimately find this story moving--and I think it'll be a long time before I forget this story. A short, quick read grounded in a remarkable bit of history. And I'd like to try Lowry's <i>The Giver</i> someday which though also a children's book I've heard is more something an adult can appreciate.