The life of Anne Frank, from birth until being taken from the hidden attic by the Nazis, is presented in this haunting, meticulously researched picture book. It is a compelling yet easy-to-understand "first" introduction to the Holocaust as witnessed by Anne and her family. The stunningly evocative illustrations by Angela Barrett are worth a thousand words in capturing for young Americans what it must have felt like to be Anne Frank, a spirited child caught in the maelstrom of World War II atrocities. A detailed timeline of important events in Europe and in the Frank family is included.
From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 3-5–In this moving picture-book biography, the familiar yet compelling story is told with simple poignancy and dignity. The famous diary is barely mentioned until well into the text; Poole has chosen instead to focus on Anne herself, and the fact that she was an ordinary girl born into extraordinarily difficult times. Although her elfish personality and sensitive soul are certainly alluded to, particular care is given to creating a context for the circumstances of her confinement and tragic demise. Both the text and illustrations quickly create a sense of foreboding. Spreads are dominated by Barrett's realistically rendered paintings done in subdued tones: Hitler's face looming large over small children in the street; broken glass flying through a storefront owned by a Jewish merchant; Anne and her friends denied entrance to the cinema; the girl's tearful good-bye to her beloved cat as she and her family prepare to go into hiding. At this point in the story, the details of her life as revealed in her diary are clearly explained but not sentimentalized or dwelt upon. The author details the difficulties of confinement, Anne's blossoming love for Peter, and the ultimate betrayal and capture of those hidden in the secret annex. Anne's death from typhus receives one sentence, balanced against the survival of her father and especially her diary, which was placed in his care and ultimately given to the world. For those looking to introduce Anne's writings or her story, this beautifully presented book is a worthy choice.–Teri Markson, Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School, Los Angeles
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*Starred Review* Gr. 4-7. One of the best-known books of all time, The Diary of Anne Frank continues to spark spin-offs for grown-ups as well as young readers--including, just this year, Ellen Feldman's adult novel The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank and Barry Denenberg's Shadow Life: A Portrait of Anne Frank and Her Family , written for young teens. Poole's compelling picture-book biography is for grade-schoolers who may not have read the Diary as well as for older children who want to know more. The author tells the story directly, setting Anne's life within the context of Hitler's rise to power and the vicious persecution of the Jews, first in Germany, then in Holland, where the Frank family was driven into hiding. Barrett's powerful, realistic pictures keep to Anne's viewpoint, showing the terror in the street and the anguish of leaving as well as Anne sitting alone in the attic writing or with her arms around fellow fugitive Peter. Finally comes the nightmare climax of the Nazi raid, "smash, crash, boots on the stairs." The text is substantial, but there's no attempt to tell it all, and the spaces left between the haunting words and beautiful pictures will send many to Anne's own journal. A detailed chronology of the history and the personal story conclude. Hazel Rochman
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