Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Klipfish Code

The Klipfish Code

Mary Casanova
Historical Fiction
For ages 9 to 12
Houghton Mifflin, 2007   ISBN: 978-0618883936

The war in Europe has not had much effect on Norway so far. Indeed the Norwegians have prided themselves on staying out of a war for over a hundred years. Now that time of peace is over. The Germans have invaded Norway and Marit’s little village has been bombed. Her parents have decided that they are going to send twelve-year-old Marit and her seven-year-old brother Lars to the island of Godoy to stay with their grandfather. Marit is furious. Surely in a time of trouble like this the family should be staying together, but her parents are adamant, and there is nothing she can say that will change their minds.

So the children go to the island to live with their grandfather or Bestefar as they call him. Their Aunt Ingeborg also lives with Bestefar and having her there makes being separated from their parents easier. It isn’t long before everyone on the island starts to feel the pinch of the German’s presence. The German soldiers take over the local school so the children have to go to school in the church. The soldiers take much of the food, blankets and other supplies from the islanders so that life becomes very hard. Then they impose rules on top of more rules. Finally the Germans demand that preachers and teachers all over Norway have to teach Nazi propaganda. The preachers refuse and give up their churches. The teachers refuse and one in ten of their numbers are arrested. One of them is Aunt Ingeborg.

As if this isn’t bad enough Marit then finds an injured Norwegian Resistance fighter who asks for her help. He needs her to deliver a message to someone on the other side of the island. The journey will be very dangerous and Marit is afraid to ask anyone for help because she does not know whom to trust. She does not even believe she can trust Besterfar. Can she manage to deliver this precious message without being caught by the Nazis?

In this thrilling work of historical fiction Mary Casanova takes her readers back in time to 1940’s Norway, to a time when many Norwegians were secretly fighting for their country while it was under German occupation. It was a terrifying time for not only did the Norwegians have to fear the Germans, but they also had to fear fellow countrymen who were working for the Germans. One never knew who the enemy was.