Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Jimmy's Stars

Jimmy's Stars

Mary Ann Rodman
For ages 9 to 12
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008   ISBN: 978-0374337032

When Ellie learns that her beloved brother Jimmy has been drafted and will be going off to war she is devastated. Fun loving Jimmy who calls her "Movie Star" and who tells Ellie that she is beautiful, is one of the best things in Ellie's world and she cannot imagine what life will be like without him around. Ellie has already had to sacrifice so much for the war. Why does she have to give up her brother as well?

But she must, and on October 2nd, 1943 Jimmy gets on a train to go to boot camp. Before he leaves, Jimmy promises Ellie that he will come home for Christmas and she holds this promise close to her heart in the days following his departure. The situation is not helped at all when Aunt Toots comes to stay and when Ellie's mother goes to work in a factory. Now Ellie has to do more chores than ever and her family members are rarely able to spend much time together.

When Jimmy does not come home for Christmas Ellie is hurt and furious. He'd promised her and she feels horribly let down. Christmas without Jimmy just doesn't feel right and Ellie cannot understand how Jimmy could do such a thing. When the family of Victoria - Ellie's mortal enemy who lives across the way - gets a telegram Ellie begins to realize how lucky she is. At least Jimmy isn't in the line of fire on some island in the Pacific.

In this moving and powerful book readers will get a very real feel for what it was like to be a child on the home front in America during World War II. They will read about scrap drives, ration cards, and victory gardens, and they will discover what it meant to have to put up with things "for the duration." Most of all of course they will see how painful and miserable it was for families who had sons, brothers, uncles, or cousins in the service. Sometimes one did not know where family members were for months on end, and always one lived with the fear that the Western Union telegram delivery boy would come to your door.

Packed with intimate details about life in America during World War II, this book will leave readers with a meaningful picture of what it was like to live through those very hard years.