Hollow Chest

Brita Sandstrom, illus. by Dadu Shin. Walden Pond, $16.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-287074-2
Eleven-year-old Charlie, a cued white English boy living in bombed-out 1945 London, helps his mother care for his grandfather Fritz, a wounded WWI veteran prone to trauma-induced trances, and desperately awaits his older sibling Theo’s return from war. But when the reunion day arrives, Charlie hardly recognizes the mirthless soldier who returns, wounded by a grenade and with PTSD-like symptoms. Fear subsequently creeps into Charlie’s shock and disappointment as he notices huge, wolflike beasts lurking in the shadows of his city. When “Mad Mellie,” a local woman whose son died in the Blitz, lets slip that war wolves are involved in taking the hearts of returning soldiers, Charlie gains both a name for the monsters he’s been seeing and a steadfast resolve, alongside his clever cat Biscuits, to bargain his brother’s heart back from those who took it. In this poetic debut, Sandstrom tells a story that is equally tender and terrifying, balancing a family’s emotional gravity with the chilling war wolves. With moody occasional illustrations by Shin, a relaxed pace, and tender prose, this historical fantasy expertly employs anxiety and empathy to demonstrate war’s devastating effect on individuals and families. Ages 8–12. Agent: Tina Dubois, ICM Partners. (June)
Reviewed on : 05/20/2021
Release date: 06/08/2021
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-287076-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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