From School Library Journal
Grades 4-7--Thirteen-year-old Clara and her younger brother Peter are living in Prague with their parents in 1943 when the family receives orders to join a transport. Their destination is Terezin (also known as Theresienstadt), a lesser-known concentration camp in what is now the Czech Republic. Although her family is separated for most of each day and the living conditions are harsh, Clara learns to find comfort in schoolwork, music, and friends, especially streetwise Jacob. He tells her what is really happening to the people chosen for further transports to Auschwitz, and that he plans to escape from Terezin when the time is right. The story is realistically open-ended; when Jacob disappears, Clara never learns if his escape was successful or if he died in the attempt. Also, since the story ends before the camp is liberated, readers never find out if the main character survives the war or not, which is disconcerting and disappointing. The novel is not as engaging as the many Holocaust stories by Carol Matas and others, and has an annoying tendency to overuse the term "alright." However, the details are accurate and the historical photos and artwork at the end add realism.
Paula J. LaRue, Van Wert Middle School, OH
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Kacer doesn’t spare readers from the sheer horror of life in the ghetto or from the prospects of what lay beyond Terezin in the death camps that were the final destination of Terezins inmates. But in telling the story of Brundibar and giving readers a glimpse of the incredible artistic life that was secretly fostered in the ghetto, Kacer’s novel is also a story of hope, courage, and humanity in the face of overwhelming suffering and adversity. (Quill & Quire
This portrait of life in Terezin through the eyes of a girl in her early teens is spellbinding. The author conveys the reality of Clara’s experiences, her uncertainties, dreams and hardships realistically, but not frighteningly. (The London Jewish Community News