Vinnie's War

210p. illus. photos. reprods. Allen & Unwin. 2012. pap. $14.99. ISBN 978-1-74237-576-2.
Gr 5–7—Orphaned 13-year-old Vinnie Cartwright has learned to fend for himself, despite his difficult circumstance with his foster mother. When England enters World War II, the boy's part-time job with the Rosens at their London pub suddenly disappears after their street is demolished during a German bombing raid. Rounded up with other children, he is evacuated to a small village in the countryside for the duration of the war. Based on the author's experiences, this novel is filled with the disruptions and adjustments that these children endured, living among strangers who were not always completely welcoming. The first-person narrative gives readers a realistic view of this particular boy's situation through episodic scenes featuring local bullies, sometimes drolly recounted as new friends and fellow evacuees devise retaliatory tactics. Vinnie's saving grace is his interest in music, established with the Rosens' nephew, a classically trained pianist, who encourages Vinnie to play some simple harmonica tunes. The owner of his temporary, wartime home, a pianist herself, takes an interest in Vinnie and brings music into his life again, helping him hone his fledgling musical skills. Facsimiles of newspaper headlines, postcards, advertisements, and other ephemera provide readers with a nostalgic view of the period. A somewhat intriguing and adventurous portrayal of a difficult period in English history.—Rita Soltan, Youth Services Consultant, West Bloomfield, MI

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing