Anne Frank's compelling story is told for a picture book audience with an outstanding text and haunting, meticulously researched illustrations.
Josephine Poole was born in London. Her first children's book, A Dream in the House was published by Hutchinson in 1961, after the birth of her second child, and she has continued to published highly acclaimed children's book ever since. She lives in Somerset with her husband. Angela Barrett studied illustration at the Royal College of Art and after graduating in 1980, she began an acclaimed career in children's book illustration. Angela was winner of the Smarties Award in 1988. She lives in London.
Poole and Barrett's (Joan of Arc) third collaboration tells of Anne Frank's childhood up through the moment her family's hideout is raided by the Nazis, and serves as a kind of introduction to the heroine's diary: "The story of Anne Frank begins with an ordinary little girl, someone you might sit next to in class." Compassionately, calmly, Poole shades in the circumstances that led up to the Holocaust, describing the poverty of the Weimar Republic and Hitler's hate campaign against the Jews: "He accused the Jews of grabbing the best jobs.... And it wasn't fair, because Germans were special-the finest race in the world!" Anne's father finds work in the Netherlands, but the Germans raid there, too. Barrett's gouache paintings begin with a sunny scene of Anne's nursery, and gradually lose their color as Nazism overtakes Europe; by the end of the story, the pictures of the family in their hiding place have faded to dark grays, browns and somber greens. Yet the illustrations maintain a certain softness; one last close-up shows Anne's face, frightened but controlled, as the SS officers take her away. This visual approach keeps youngsters at a safe distance, along with a focus on Miep, Mr. Frank's secretary, who saves Anne's diary and returns it to Mr. Frank after the war: "Anne Frank was no more than a girl, and her short life had come to an end. But her story was just beginning." The green leaves of spring unfurl outside the window as Miep hands him the bright red diary-offering readers a picture of redemption and hope. Ages 8-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Gr 3-5-In this moving picture-book biography, the familiar yet compelling story is told with simple poignancy and dignity. The famous diary is barely mentioned until well into the text; Poole has chosen instead to focus on Anne herself, and the fact that she was an ordinary girl born into extraordinarily difficult times. Although her elfish personality and sensitive soul are certainly alluded to, particular care is given to creating a context for the circumstances of her confinement and tragic demise. Both the text and illustrations quickly create a sense of foreboding. Spreads are dominated by Barrett's realistically rendered paintings done in subdued tones: Hitler's face looming large over small children in the street; broken glass flying through a storefront owned by a Jewish merchant; Anne and her friends denied entrance to the cinema; the girl's tearful good-bye to her beloved cat as she and her family prepare to go into hiding. At this point in the story, the details of her life as revealed in her diary are clearly explained but not sentimentalized or dwelt upon. The author details the difficulties of confinement, Anne's blossoming love for Peter, and the ultimate betrayal and capture of those hidden in the "secret annex." Anne's death from typhus receives one sentence, balanced against the survival of her father and especially her diary, which was placed in his care and ultimately given to the world. For those looking to introduce Anne's writings or her story, this beautifully presented book is a worthy choice.-Teri Markson, Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School, Los Angeles Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.