Monday, March 20, 2017

Cloud and Wallfish

One day Noah's parents pick him up from school with a packed car and tell him they are going to East Germany on a trip.  Also, while they are gone, his name will be Jonah and his birthday will actually be six months earlier.  Noah is stumped by all of this.  It doesn't seem real until his dad burns his new Batman backpack in a trash can at a rest stop.

Before he knows it, Noah is living in an apartment in East Berlin in 1989.  His mother is there to study childhood speech disorders, like Noah's astounding stutter.  He is bored out of his mind because the East Germans are dragging their feet about whether or not he can go to school, and Noah always thought school was required!

Then he meets a girl named Claudia, his downstairs neighbor.  They become fast friends and invent a magical land over the border from East Berlin.  When word arrives that Claudia's parents are dead, she is devastated, but she can't quite bring herself to believe it.  Is it possible that her parents could be alive on the other side of the wall?

I have some mixed feelings about this book.  After an intriguing opening, it got bogged down, but I kept giving it one more day until the last half of the book, which is phenomenal.  I'm glad I read it, and I know I could market it to kids, but I think it would take a stalwart reader to make it through the first half of the book.

Give Anne Nesbet's book to kids who are interested in the Berlin Wall.  They study it in 6th grade here in Texas, and my kids love anything on the topic.

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