The Story of Bodri
Hédi Fried, trans. from the Swedish by Linda Schenck, illus. by Stina Wirsén.
Fried, an author, psychologist, and Holocaust survivor (Questions I Am Asked About the Holocaust, for adults), recalls her beloved childhood dog Bodri, who was “soft and brown” and whose memory is inextricably linked to those of her loving home, her best friend, and her freedom to play wherever she wanted. But Hitler’s presence soon looms over the family, which is eventually deported alongside other Jews. Bodri tries to follow, but young Fried can only wave to him as the train pulls away and “other abandoned dogs gathered around him.” Stina’s (Hattie) impressionistic watercolor and ink sketches, which only a few pages earlier depicted an idyllic life, now turn stark and shocking: the narrator and her big sister stare out from behind barbed wire, skeletal. Amid this horror, thinking about Bodri “gave me strength,” Fried writes. “When I was hungry, I thought about Bodri; when I was tired, I thought about Bodri; when I missed Mother and Father, I thought about Bodri.” And Bodri is equally steadfast, sitting by a tree as the seasons turn until his owner, still emaciated and dressed in rags, returns. Marked by memory and yearning, this is a powerful testimony to surviving, bearing witness, and leaning on unshakable love. Ages 6–10. [em](Apr.) [/em]
Reviewed on: 02/10/2021