Audience: Grades 6 & up
Format: Hardcover/Library Copy
Although Pierrot Fischer’s father didn’t die in the Great War, his mother, Emilie, always maintained it was the war that killed him.
– first sentence
So, I picked up this book because the cover reminded me of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas which was very emotional and tragic and which I loved. I was so excited when I realized it was the same author.
Again, this book takes place (mostly) during World War II, and again it follows a young boy. The boy is actually half German and half French. It starts off with him living in Paris with his parents and next door to his best friend (who just happens to be Jewish). When his parents die, he is shipped to an orphanage and later sent to live with his aunt who just happens to be a housekeeper in the home of a powerful German.
It is important to remember that he is a young, impressionable seven-year-old boy who is desperate for a father figure. He goes through some serious changes over the 9 years the book covers and some of them are quite disturbing.
Overall, I liked the book. I think it’s important that readers be aware of the truth behind the story and to know that the boy does some awful things. He is indoctrinated at a young age into the Nazi movement, lavished with the attention he craved and led to believe that he was in the right. But, part of him knew what he was doing was wrong and that is important too. Younger readers might have a harder time understanding the meaning of the story. That’s why I recommend it to grades 6 and up (and maybe a parent should read it and discuss it with them).
To me, this wasn’t nearly as powerful as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, but it was still good – not great, but good.
I read it for Snakes & Ladders space #21, set in Europe.