John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971 and studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of East Anglia, Norwich. His novels have been published in over forty languages, and his books for young readers include Noah Barleywater Runs Away and The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas won two Irish Book Awards, topped the New York Times bestseller list, and was adapted into a Miramax feature film. He lives in Dublin. To learn more, visit JohnBoyne.com.
Gr 9 Up-John Boyne's novel (David Fickling books, 2006) is a harrowing Holocaust story with an excruciating ending. It is told through the eyes of nine-year-old Bruno, whose family moves from Berlin after his father gets a promotion to Commandant. When the family arrives at their new home, Bruno is disheartened. The new place, which the boy calls "Out-With," is desolate, with a large "camp" on the other side of a big fence, behind which all of the people, except the soldiers, wear gray-striped pajamas. After starting classes with a tutor, who advocates history over art, Bruno explores his new surroundings and meets Shmuel who is living in the fenced-in area. Bruno never quite grasps why his new friend is behind the fence, but he knows that he should keep quiet about their visits. Only mature listeners with knowledge of World War II and Hitler's "final solution" will be able to interpret what the author unveils slowly (there is no mention of a war going on or the ability to get news from the radio or newspapers). Still, the novel will certainly augment the study of this period in history. There is the added bonus of an interview with the author and his editor at the end of the recording. With the eager urgency and excitement of the young protagonist, Michael Maloney reads with a British accent, using various voices for the many characters. Sometimes he drops the ends of words, which can be distracting. Haunting music between chapters adds to the suspense. A unique addition to Holocaust literature.-Jo-Ann Carhart, East Islip Public Library, NY Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Through the eyes of an innocent nine-year-old boy named Bruno, listeners become complicit bystanders, observing some of the horrors of the Holocaust. Maloney's soft-toned narration and chipper, believably childlike characterization of Bruno dramatically bring home the fable-like qualities of Boyne's moving text. Bruno's limited comprehension of all going on around him begs listeners, presumably with more knowledge than the protagonist, to glean the fuller story between the lines. When his father, an officer for "the Fury," as Bruno refers to him, is transferred from Berlin to a new post in Poland called "Out-With," Bruno and his family try to adjust. From his new bedroom window Bruno can see a fenced-in camp where all the inhabitants wear striped pajamas. He learns more about this intriguing place when he befriends a boy inside the camp named Shmuel (who happens to share Bruno's birthday). Their friendship progresses dangerously and brings Boyne's tale to a shocking end that is sure to be a discussion starter. A bonus interview between Boyne and his editor David Fickling is included. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
"Certain to be one of the publishing sensations of 2006." -The Observer (U.K.)
"A memorable and moving story." -The Oxford Times (U.K.)
"A small wonder of a book." -The Guardian (U.K.) "A book so
simple, so seemingly effortless, that it's almost perfect." -The
Irish Independent "An extraordinary book." -The Irish