This is the true story of Jews and Gypsies in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation. But it is also the story of a street orphan who survives on quick thinking schemes to find food: who believes in bread, mothers and angels. A tragic but beautiful account through the eyes of the innocent.This is the true story of Jews and Gypsies in Warsaw during the Nazi occupation. But it is also the story of a street orphan who survives on quick thinking schemes to find food: who believes in bread, mothers and angels. A tragic but beautiful account through the eyes of the innocent.Read Less
Publishers Weekly, 2004-01-12 Conveying a sometimes-astonishing na?vet? in light of the brutality seen through the eyes of an orphan boy, Rifkin breathes emotion into Spinelli's novel, which is set in Poland during the Holocaust. In 1939 Warsaw, a runty, ragged street thief who doesn't even know his name or if he ever had a family finds himself taken under the wing of a sharp, slightly older boy named Uri. The younger boy, now called Misha, learns a new, even more wretched way of life under Nazi occupation. He witnesses murder, torture and hatred firsthand, as taken out on the Jews by the cruel soldiers he knows as Jackboots. He further hones his scrappy survival skills, becomes part of a Jewish family in the ghetto and, miraculously, continues to muster hope as the months and years pass. Via Rifkin's cool yet compelling delivery, listeners discover-right along with an always wide-eyed Misha-some of the horrors that many innocent people suffered during this dark era of history. Though some listeners may be puzzled by Misha's detached air and consistent lack of awareness, Rifkin succeeds in making the audio experience an ultimately enlightening one. Ages 10-up. (Sept. 2003) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 2003-09-01 For this WWII tale set in Warsaw, Spinelli (Wringer) invents a narrator akin to Roberto Benigni's character in Life Is Beautiful. The narrator intermittently indicates that he has some distance from the events, but his perspective affords him no insight, so readers may be as confounded as he. As the novel opens, Uri, a larger boy, chases down the narrator and pries away the loaf of bread he has pinched: " `I'm Uri... What's your name?'... `Stopthief.' " After Uri realizes that the boy truly does not know his own name, Uri gives him one-Misha Pilsudski-as well as a past (befitting the boy's "Gypsy" appearance). Simple-minded Misha admires the Nazis, whom the boys call "Jackboots" ("They were magnificent. There were men attached to them, but it was as if the boots were wearing the men.... A thousand of them swinging up as one, falling like the footstep of a single, thousand-footed giant"). Misha comes off as a clown, and for children unfamiliar with the occupation and its horrors, the juxtaposition of events and Misha's detached relating of them may be baffling (Nazis force Jews to wash the street with their beards, and hang one of Misha's friends from a street lamp). At times, he seems self-aware ("I had no sense. If I had had sense, I would know what all the other children knew: the best defense... was invisibility"), yet these moments are aberrations; he never learns from his experience, and a postlude does little to bring either his perspective or the era into focus. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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