THE ORPHANS OF NORMANDY: A True Story of World War II Told Through Drawings by Children

Nancy Amis, Author . S&S/Atheneum $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-0-689-84143-9

In this debut, Amis assembles the drawings and recollections of girls forced to abandon their orphanage in Normandy and travel about 150 miles on foot during the Allied invasion in 1944. Amis does not state what occasioned the girls' work, but the continuity of the girls' narrative and the homogeneity of their drawing styles suggest an unseen adult supervisor, as if a teacher had assigned—and scripted—a class project. The renditions of tanks, fighter planes and gunfire possess an arresting simplicity, and while the girls' text rarely discusses emotions, the feelings that do slip out are poignant. For example, the last page of the children's story shows girls offering flowers to American soldiers: "The little girls of the Clos were happy to see American tanks. That consoled them for all they had lost." The polished design integrates a scrap from the girls' red, white and blue tattersall uniform. A brief afterword supplies scant information about the illustrations and writings, which were sent in 1946, apparently, to Amis's great-aunt, along with black-and-white pictures of the girls in their new home. While this book may appeal to those searching for a child's view of D-Day, its fragmentary references and lack of explanatory matter may frustrate readers. Ages 8-12. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/02/2003
Release date: 06/01/2003
Paperback - 48 pages - 978-1-4814-9470-0
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