What It Is About: Ada and her little brother live with their mother in London during World War II. Ada has a "club foot" and her mother has hidden her from the world since she was born. She isn't kind to Ada and is a bit more kind to Jamie, but not much. There comes a time when the children of London are being shipped out to avoid the war. Jamie's mother sends him, but is going to keep Ada with her. Ada decides this is the time to escape with her brother. The two children end up with Susan Smith outside of London. At first Susan doesn't really want these two young people, but takes them in anyway. As the war rages on; Ada, Jamie and Susan get to know each other. Their old lives begin to disappear and Susan creates a new one for them. Ada learns about horses, learns how to read, and begins to use manners that were never used before with her mother. Ada even gets involved with the war, spies, and keeping out of harm's way. When their mother shows up, the children are torn between their old life and this new one with Susan.
What I Thought Of It: I read this book at the perfect time. My next unit of study is historical fiction and I wanted to find a new read aloud to share with my fourth graders. After reading this story, I have now found the story that I will share with my listeners. I'm also going to recommend it to my colleagues to read to their classes as we cover the unit. The story was beautiful written and had such a seamless flow to it. Ada and Jamie are fascinating characters and will work their way into your heart. I also liked the development of Susan and learning more about her life. The book has it all and I know will be a winner with my students.
Who Should Read It: If a middle-grade reader were to read this book, I think they would need to be a strong fourth grade reader or in grades five or six. I think middle-school readers would also enjoy the story. I'm excited to share it with my fourth graders as a read aloud and think it would be well received by listeners in grades four through six. Of course adults that enjoy top-notch historical fiction, have to read this book. Happy Reading!
Rating: 5 STARS out of 5 Stars