Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Anne Frank

Anne Frank

Josephine Poole
Illustrator:  Angela Barrett 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Random House UK, 2007   ISBN: 978-0099409762

At the end of the First World War Germany was in a bad way. The country had been punished for starting the war and it had paid dearly for its folly. Even ten years later it was still paying and its people were suffering. Many Germans were angry and in their anger they "wanted someone to blame." A frightening little man called Hitler hated the Jews and he decided to make them the scapegoat. As he gained political power he told the German people that the Jews were to blame for Germany's problems. He began to find ways to punish the Jews.

For a little girl called Anne Frank it began when her non-Jewish classmates began to bully her at school. Then the Jewish children in her class had to sit in a separate part of the classroom. It was even harder for the grownups, whose businesses were attacked and who were sometimes beaten up in the streets by Storm Troopers.

Eventually the situation got so bad that Anne's father decided that it would be better to leave Germany altogether. Anne's father got a job in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and moved his family there.

The Franks were happy in Amsterdam but they could not help being worried about what Hitler would do next. His armies were on the move across Europe. Would he come to the Netherlands too? As it happened the Franks were right to be afraid for it was not long before the Nazi's were marching into Amsterdam. Soon Anne and her family and Jewish friends had to wear yellow stars on their clothes so that everyone knew that they were Jews. Jews could not go to public places and this time the Franks could not escape to another country.

When Mr. Frank heard that Anne's sister Margot was to report to a labor camp, he decided that the entire family would go into hiding. They would live in a small hidden apartment in the back of her father's office. Perhaps there they would be able to hide from the Germans until the war was over.

In this touching and beautifully written picture book biography Josephine Poole introduces young readers to the story of Anne Frank. The author provides her readers with plenty of background information so that they can understand the context of Anne's story and appreciate what was taking place in Europe in the 1930's and 1940's.

Angela Barrett's stunning illustrations provide a perfect backdrop for this haunting story of courage and loss.