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Book Title: The Devil's Arithmetic|
Loaded: 1829 times
Reader ratings: 6.6
The author of the book: Jane Yolen
Date of issue: April 21st 2005
ISBN 13: 9780142404379
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 789 KB
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I wish I could say I liked this book. I thought I would. I know it's critically acclaimed and a well-known story. But it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
The book is meant to educate young people about the Holocaust, but it had a lot of historical inaccuracies. The idyllic shtetl world at the beginning of Chaya's story would have been long gone by 1942 -- by that time, all the Jews left alive in Poland were in ghettos, in concentration camps or in hiding. Lublin, the place Chaya supposedly came from, was ghettoized and in early 1942, most of its Jewish population was deported to Belzec and killed.
The dialogue was overly didactic (a common flaw in historical novels, especially those for children) and too much was told rather than shown. Further, the camp confused me. Yolen says in the end that she created an amalgam fictional camp out of various aspects of real camps, but she used the trademark Auschwitz sign: "Arbeit Macht Frei." I was confused throughout the book: This is Auschwitz? But where are the selections, the band, Mengele? Did she do any research at all, I wondered. Yolen should have revealed her use of a made-up camp at the beginning, and she shouldn't have used the Auschwitz sign.
If you want to look for some better books on the Holocaust for children, try any of Uri Orlev's, or Jerry Spinelli's Milkweed, or Livia Bitton-Jackson's memoir I Have Lived a Thousand Years, or...well, quite a few books are better than this one.
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Read information about the authorJane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Born and raised in New York City, the mother of three and the grandmother of six, Yolen lives in Massachusetts and St. Andrews, Scotland.
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