Children of Bach

Eilis Dillon, Author Scribner Book Company $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-684-19440-0
Dillon, a prolific Irish author, uses the backdrop of WW II Budapest to stage a riveting drama about Jewish children who escape the Nazis. Peter, only 14, finds himself in charge of his younger brother and sister and the sister's friend when they come home from school and discover that their parents, famous musicians, have been arrested by the Nazis along with other Jews in the community. Aware of the perils that loom over them, the children at first seek refuge in music as they puzzle out their options. But when their Aunt Eva miraculously returns (she's outwitted her would-be captors), they enlist the help of a neighbor and hatch a daring plan. Courage coexists with human vulnerability, while the ironies of the title are exploited subtly and to excellent effect. Dillon may fail to suggest the extent of Jewish suffering at the hands of Germans and indifferent Hungarians--the enemy here is rather too easily deceived, the neighbors all willing to risk their own lives, the children all but unaffected by the disappearance and probable death of their parents--but she sustains the suspense so well and engenders such concern for her characters that their plight assumes paramount importance for the reader as well. Ages 10-13. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1992
Release date: 09/01/1992
Genre: Children's
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