Meggie Dillon's life has been turned upside down by World War II. Her older brother Eddie enlisted and was shipped off to fight in Europe. And people say that anywhere else Grandpa would be turned in because he's German, and people might think he's a spy. Is it true? Could Grandpa be taken away?
Meggie's father has announced that they must help the war effort and move to Willow Run, Michigan, where he'll work nights in a factory building important war planes that will help fight the enemy in Europe. Willow Run will be the greatest adventure ever, Meggie thinks. There she meets Patches and Harlan, other kids like her whose parents have come here to do their part in the war. And there she faces questions about courage, and what it takes to go into battle, like Eddie, and how to keep hope alive on the home front.
The wheels made a horrible sound; no wonder. The wagon belonged to Joey Kind
down the block, who
hadn't used it in years; the whole thing was a rusted mess. And the nerve of
Joey to say, "You be careful,
Meggie Dillon. Don't ruin it."
Too bad, I wanted to tell him, keep your old wagon. But I had to borrow it. It was all for the war effort. And right now rattling along in the center of the wagon was Big Bertha, Mom's iron statue that had a clock in her stomach. She'd been rusting away in the attic forever, just like Joey's wagon.
Big Bertha was going to war. Mr. North at the junkyard would pay me a quarter and Bertha would be melted down into bullets. Poor Bertha.
It was almost dark so I began to hurry. I chugged past Grandpa's house but I knew he wasn't there. He was at my house waiting for Dad to get home from work. Dad had news, that was all Mom would tell us, and we'd hear it over a late supper of salad...
Giff weaves a number of story threads together against a realistic 1940s backdrop that will have children aged 9-12 thinking hard about important issues such as the meaning of courage and cowardice and how war leaves no person unaffected.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (787 words).
As a child, Patricia Reilly Giff's favorite books included Little Women,
The Secret Garden, the Black Stallion books, the Sue Barton books,
and the Nancy Drew series. She loved reading so much that while growing up, her
sister had to grab books out of her hands to get her to pay attention to her;
later; her three children often found themselves doing the same thing. As a
reading teacher for 20 years, the educational consultant for Dell Yearling and
Young Yearling books, an adviser and instructor to aspiring writers, and the
author of more than 60 books for children, Patricia Reilly Giff has spent her
entire life surrounded by books.
After earning a B.A. degree from Marymount College, she took the advice of the school's ...
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