Title: When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Author: Judith Kerr
Genre: Historical/ Children’s/Semi-autobiographical
Opening line: ‘…Anna was walking home from school with Elsbeth, a girl in her class …’
Blurb: Anna is not sure who Hitler is, but she sees his face on posters all over Berlin. Then one morning, Anna and her brother awake to find her father gone! Her mother explains that their father has had to leave and soon they will secretly join him. Anna just doesn’t understand. Why do their parents keep insisting that Germany is no longer safe for Jews like them? Because of Hitler, Anna must leave everything behind.
My Thoughts: WHEN HITLER STOLE PINK RABBIT is semi-autobiographical as it is based on the true life story of author Judith Kerr. Her family fled Germany just before Hitler came to power because her father was a well-known writer, and had been openly criticizing the Nazis. Anna is 9 when the story opens and she first learns she is a Jew. She hadn’t realised she was one as her family didn’t follow any of the customs or worship as Jews. One day her father disappears he has been told he is a wanted man by the Nazi’s and if they come to power he will be in big trouble. Not long after the family also sneak out of Germany as they are worried their passports will be taken. Not wishing to arouse suspicion all they can take is one small bag each – Pink Rabbit is left behind as Anna thinks they are coming back. Just after they arrive in Switzerland to join Anna’s father Hitler wins the election and now has supreme power in Germany.
WHEN HITLER STOLE PINK RABBIT is written from a child’s point of view, so innocently we see how a once well-off family finds themselves to be now poor and struggling to make ends meet. This loss of income results in Anna’s practical mother learning to cook and sew, which is contrasted by her impractical father who didn’t understand that his children were growing and needed new clothes. Downsizing their rent and increasing her father’s employment prospects by moving from Switzerland to Paris and then on to London was another adjustment the family needed to do. As an adult reading between the lines I could see how the rise to power of one small angry man could affect millions of lives across Europe, and the impact on the family of being in extreme danger from the Nazi’s and then having no money for food or heating would really have been – rather than the adventure that Anna thought she was on. Overall it is very well written, the right voice for the age of the narrator, funny even in parts with some bad events alluded to rather than in your face.
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B – Great. I really enjoyed reading it and it is a book I will be recommending to all my friends who like this genre.