Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Boxes for Katje

Boxes for Katje

Candace Fleming
Illustrator:  Stacey Dressen-McQueen 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003   ISBN: 978-0374309220

Though the war is over the people in Holland are still suffering. There is not enough food, fuel, clothing and other basic necessities to go around. Then one day a girl called Katje living in the Dutch town of Olst gets a box in the mail. In the box there is a bar of soap, some chocolate, and a pair of wool socks. There is also a letter from a girl called Rosie who lives in Indiana in the USA. Katje can hardly believe that someone so far away would be so kind as to send her something so precious. Katje writes back to thank Rosie and to tell her how much she, her family and the other people she shared the gifts with appreciated Rosie's kindness.

This first box is only one of many that cross the Atlantic in the coming months, for Rosie takes on the task of doing all she can to help Katje. Then Rosie's whole town decides to pitch in and to help Katje, her family, her friends, and her neighbors.

This wonderful story of kindness and generosity is based on a true story about the author's mother who sent a small box to Europe at a time when many people in Europe were suffering great privations in the wake of World War II. Though the war was now over the suffering was not. Bright and cheerful naive style art shows both sides of the story, that of Katje's world in Holland and that of Rosie's world in Indiana.