Author: Morris Gleitzman
Published: Puffin, 2008 (first published 2005)
Series: Book 1, Once
Summary: Felix, a Jewish boy in Poland in 1942, is hiding from the Nazis in a Catholic orphanage. The only problem is that he doesn't know anything about the war, and thinks he's only in the orphanage while his parents travel and try to salvage their bookselling business. And when he thinks his parents are in danger, Felix sets off to warn themstraight into the heart of Nazi-occupied Poland.
To Felix, everything is a story: Why did he get a whole carrot in his soup? It must be sign that his parents are coming to get him. Why are the Nazis burning books? They must be foreign librarians sent to clean out the orphanage's outdated library. But as Felix's journey gets increasingly dangerous, he begins to see horrors that not even stories can explain.
Despite his grim surroundings, Felix never loses hope. (Taken from Goodreads)
Thoughts: I had read a few books by Morris Gleitzman a while ago and I remember how Morris Gleitzman has a way of adding humour into serious topics. None of the books I’ve read by him have been about a topic as serious as World War II in Nazi Germany however, so I was interested in seeing how he would do this.
I think that Morris Gleitzman did a good job of turning the events of the Holocaust into a children’s book. It’s not something that I imagine to be an easy task but he managed to make it realistic but also added in small elements of humour.
In all honesty I found it a little hard to read parts of Once, the naiveté of Felix was quite hard to read about. It did get better though, as Felix grew and understood things a little better as the book went along.
There were some interesting characters in this book, some of the people that Felix met along the way were quite interesting people. I particularly liked Zelda, as she just seemed to have something that really made her stand out amongst the other characters.
I notice that this is a series consisting of four books. I am curious about what becomes of Felix and Zelda so I may pick the next book up at some point.
Overall, I thought that Once was quite an interesting book and feel like it was very well written and well done given the heavy subject matter.