Inspired by real events, master storyteller Eve Bunting recounts the harrowing yet hopeful story of a family, a war--and a dazzling discovery.
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EVE BUNTING is the author of many acclaimed books for young readers, including the Caldecott Medal--winning Smoky Night. She lives in Southern California.
PETER SYLVADA's first picture book, A Symphony of Whales, won the Christopher Medal and was named a New York Times Book Review Best Illustrated Book of the Year and a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children. He lives in Cardiff, California.
Gr 2-4-With her noted skill in presenting difficult topics with clarity and sensitivity, Bunting has written an inspiring story based on the true experience of a Bosnian family forced to flee their country during the recent civil war. Eight-year-old Viktor watches as his father walks away to join the Liberation Army, and knows that soon he, his mother, and younger sister, Marina, will be forced to leave their home, just one step ahead of the approaching enemy forces. Already, strangers pass through Viktor's town on their way to the border. One man leaves his two golden fish with the family, explaining that, "An extra day or two of life is as important to a fish as it is to us." But just a few days later, as they ready themselves to depart, Viktor releases the fish into their pond. After days of walking and weeks of living in a refugee camp, the boy and his mother and sister share a glorious reunion with Papa and eventually return home. The land is ravaged by war and their home is destroyed but the fish have survived, even thrived-they and their offspring fill the pond. The simple, elegant language is at once moving and eloquent when juxtaposed with Sylvada's expressive oil paintings. The artist's palette of rich earth tones and striking brushwork reflect the strong emotional tenor of the story. Focusing on the fearsome impact of war upon families and children, and on those things that allow people to retain their humanity, this book deserves to be introduced and discussed.
Teri Markson, Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School, Los Angeles
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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