Max in the House of Spies: A Tale of World War II

Dutton. (Operation Kinderspion). Feb. 2024. 336p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593112083.
Gr 3-7–Gidwitz’s latest is absolutely everything a reader could want in a World War II spy novel. Max is sent away from Berlin by his Jewish parents at the brink of WWII. Alone and scared, Max finds himself accompanied by two immortal and incorporeal creatures, a dybbuk and a kobold. Named Stein and Berg, these two offer comedic insights and observations in classic Gidwitz style, with sarcasm and wit in equal measure. Max must engage his full mental capacities to survive anti-Semitic bullies. He then must work his way into training to become the youngest spy for Britain, all in hopes of getting sent back to Berlin to be reunited with his parents. Brilliant, funny, and full of twists and turns that engage both the heart and the mind, this novel will have readers clamoring for the follow-up in the duology. Newbery Honoree Gidwitz is at the top of his form using humor, fantastical creatures, and in-depth research to bring this story zestfully to life.
VERDICT Highly recommended for all collections serving middle grade and older readers who enjoy smartly written historical novels.

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