1990: Number the Stars (Fishing for Dogs)

VERDICT: Treasure

Laurinda’s Rating: 3/5

Number the Stars, the 1990 Newbery Medal Winner, is set during World War 2. Annemarie lives in Copenhagen with her family; after word leaks that the Jewish population will be relocated, Annemarie’s family takes in Ellen Rosen, a close friend of the family. They then go for a “visit” to Uncle Henrik, who’s a fisherman. Ellen’s parents and a number of other Jewish people join them. After some last minute heroics by Annemarie, who delivers a handkerchief imbued with a formula that numbs dogs’ noses, Uncle Henrik successfully smuggles the refugees to safety in Sweden.

Honestly, this store is fine but fails to arouse strong emotions. The main character is so average that she’s really just boring. However, it’s a fast read that provides some interesting insight into daily life in an occupied country as well as the everyday heroism of ordinary people. While the Resistance takes some of the biggest risks, the whole country also risks serious repercussions by hiding friends, providing clothes and food for those fleeing the country, and smuggling them via boat to Sweden. I’ve always admired the actual events on which this book is based.

I vaguely remember reading and liking this when I was in the target age group. Late elementary and early middle schoolers could benefit from reading this. It’s decently enough written to hold their interest and talks about an important aspect of World War 2.


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