Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Strange Case of Baby H

The Strange Case of Baby H

Kathryn Reiss
Historical Fiction
For ages 10 to 12
Pleasant Company, 2002   ISBN: 978-1584855330

Clara is rudely awakened one morning when the most extraordinary thing happens. Her bed starts to heave, the walls of her room shake and she feels as if she were on a ship at sea. Earthquake! We are in San Francisco and it is April 18, 1906. Clara, her mother and father, and the lodgers who share their house, set up house in the yard and start to put their lives back together again. With horror they watch the city of San Francisco burn. They hear huge explosions as men try to check the flames by blowing up houses to create firebreaks. Will their house be next? In the middle of this chaos a most extraordinary thing happens. Someone leaves a baby girl on their porch. Clara and her family and friends find themselves put in a most peculiar situation. Who is the baby and why are strangers trying to get her back? Against this backdrop of danger and excitement Clara and her family try to get to grips with a terrible loss that they suffered not long ago, the death of Clara's elder brother Gideon. Somehow the dreadful circumstances in which they are placed makes them face their grief, regret and guilt.

Clara is the kind of girl we all could be and we feel great empathy for her. We understand her feelings and actions. The author has created a gripping story which makes us think about the strength of the human spirit and which reminds us that there are times when everything is not quite what it seems.

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