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Ashley, Bernard. Johnnie's Blitz.

ASHLEY, Bernard. Johnnie's Blitz. Barn Owl, dist. by IPG Chicago. 217p. c1995. 1-903015-28-6. $9.95. J

This book will stir emotions and evoke sympathy for the characters. It is not a "happily ever after" kind of story. The year is 1940, and WW II has begun in Europe. Hitler is attempting to bomb England into submission. German bombers fly across the English Channel every night and drop tons of explosives on London in the Blitz. Readers will get caught up in the misfortunes of the characters. There is three-year-old Shirley who was separated from her parents in a bombing raid. Next is Brenda, a gypsy girl who is married to an abusive army deserter. Then there is comatose Vera, Shirley's shell-shocked mother, who is teetering between life and death. The main character is Johnnie Stubbs, a teenager wrongfully charged with theft and put into reform school, who then escaped and fell in with a band of gypsies. He rescues Shirley and is determined to return her to her parents. Trying to care for Shirley, avoid the police, and elude pursuing gypsies proves to be a daunting task for Johnnie, but he perseveres to the bittersweet ending.

The story will be an easy read because there are few long sentences or difficult words. It was primarily written for a British audience so spellings and slang terms may be unfamiliar but are easy to figure out. The more perceptive readers will pick up on the subtle innuendoes. Some may do research on the London Blitz and learn more about "... their (Great Britain's) finest hour." Prof. John E. Boyd, Jenkintown, PA

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.
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Author:Boyd, John E.
Publication:Kliatt
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2005
Words:286
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