Sheltering Rebecca

Mary Baylis-White, Author Dutton Books $14.95 (112p) ISBN 978-0-525-67349-1
Ham-handed as its narration is, this story of a WW II friendship between an English girl and the German Jewish refugee who joins her class contains some powerful moments. Sally Simpkins, who comes from a working-class family and ``secretly enjoys having to do homework,'' is asked by her teacher to look after Rebecca Muller, now living with the ``posh'' Mr. and Mrs. Trevelyan. Although it's 1938, Sally is barely aware of Hitler and only gradually realizes the extent of the horrors visited upon Rebecca, smuggled out of Germany without her family. The historic events prove too dramatic for Baylis-White's craft--for example, Rebecca's trauma is demonstrated by her reaction to being roughly teased by some boys: she is seen ``huddled, half in the river slime, whimpering like a frightened animal.'' On the other hand, the drama of history--Sally's younger sisters' excitement at the first air raids, the description of Rebecca's escape--gives the work substance and may encourage younger readers to question the recent past. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Paperback - 112 pages - 978-0-14-036448-4
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