It's April 1940 and German troops are pouring onto the streets of Denmark. 12-year-old Bamse is ordered by his father to keep his head down and stay out of trouble. But Bamse and his daring friend Anton can't resist playing the occasional practical joke on the invading soldiers. When it becomes clear that the trouble isn't just going to pass them by, the people of Denmark decide to take action and Bamse and his eccentric family are about to take part in one of history's most dramatic rescues - smuggling Denmark's Jewish population, across the water to Sweden, and safety. Many of the characters are based on Sandi's own family, including her father, Bamse, and the book was inspired by the stories her told to her.
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(194mm x 130mm x 19mm)
Yearling (imprint of Random House Children's Books)
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
During WWII, the Danes, whose nation was occupied by the Germans, knew the British called them, "Hitler's Canary." "They say he has us in a cage and we just sit and sing any tune he wants." But Denmark waged active underground opposition to the conquerors and saved most Jewish Danes from being taken into the concentration camps. Toksvig tells the story through the eyes and actions of Bamsie, ten years old when the story begins. He is the son of an actress, whose talent becomes an essential part of the plot. Because of the theatrical influence in his life, Hitler's Canary is arranged as Act, Scene, Time, Date, Place, providing a guide from 1940 to 1943, the year the Jews escaped to Sweden. Characterization is good enough to make each person an individual, sometimes permitting "good" people to have faults. Details of setting and time are fascinating, and the action is suspenseful and riveting. Despite a few missteps (how would people who were rescuing Jews know what is and what is not a Jewish name, for instance?), Toksvig offers a spellbinding look at a part of history that is rarely fictionalized. Backmatter includes the facts of Danish resistance and Jewish rescue as well as further details on the fate of those involved. An author's note explains what is true of her own family history retold in the story. (Historical fiction. 10-14) (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Sandi Toksvig
Following a first-class degree from Cambridge, Sandi Toksvig went into the theatre, where she both wrote and performed before becoming one of the founder members of the Comedy Store Players. She is well known for her television and radio work, as a presenter, writer and actor. She has written four books for children including Unusual Day, published by Young Corgi in 1996.