The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Paperback – Jan 5 2006
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–Boyne has written a sort of historical allegory–a spare, but vividly descriptive tale that clearly elucidates the atmosphere in Nazi Germany during the early 1940s that enabled the persecution of Eastern European Jews. Through the eyes of Bruno, a naive nine-year-old raised in a privileged household by strict parents whose expectations included good manners and unquestioning respect for parental authority, the author describes a visit from the Fury and the familys sudden move from Berlin to a place called Out-With in Poland. There, not 50 feet away, a high wire fence surrounds a huge dirt area of low huts and large square buildings. From his bedroom window, Bruno can see hundreds (maybe thousands) of people wearing striped pajamas and caps, and something made him feel very cold and unsafe. Uncertain of what his father actually does for a living, the boy is eager to discover the secret of the people on the other side. He follows the fence into the distance, where he meets Shmuel, a skinny, sad-looking Jewish resident who, amazingly, has his same birth date. Bruno shares his thoughts and feelings with Shmuel, some of his food, and his final day at Out-With, knowing instinctively that his father must never learn about this friendship. While only hinting at violence, blind hatred, and deplorable conditions, Boyne has included pointed examples of bullying and fearfulness. His combination of strong characterization and simple, honest narrative make this powerful and memorable tale a unique addition to Holocaust literature for those who already have some knowledge of Hitlers Final Solution.–Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Gr. 7-10. Some of the most thought-provoking Holocaust books are about bystanders, including those who say they did not know what was happening. This first novel tells the bystander story from the viewpoint of an innocent child. Bruno is nine when his family moves from their luxurious Berlin home to the country, where "the Fury" has appointed Bruno's father commandant. Lost and lonely, the child hates the upheaval, while his stern but kind father celebrates his success because he has learned to follow orders. Bruno can see a concentration camp in the distance, but he has no idea what is going on, even when he eventually meets and makes friends with Shmuel, a boy from Cracow, who lives on the other side of the camp fence. The boys meet every day. They even discover that they have the same birthday. It's all part of a poignant construct: Shmuel is Bruno's alternative self, and as the story builds to a horrifying climax, the innocent's experience brings home the unimaginable horror. Pair this with Anne Frank's classic diary and Anita Lobel's No Pretty Pictures: A Child of War (1998). Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The strength is in the narrative which mires the preoccupations of child’s curiosity and interest in the high-wired compound inhabited by sad people in striped pyjamas. It is an effortless read that puts us directly into Bruno’s and Shmuel’s worldview.
Bruno is an explorer by heart and after doing so around the house he decides to do some of the area. After an hour or so he discovers Shmuel, a boy behind the fence in the camp. They start to talk about their life and every day they meet at the same spot. Till one day, Shmuel’s father goes missing and Bruno wants to help his friend find him. He changes into the striped pyjamas, climbs under the fence and explores Shmuel’s world……
This fabrication of the author’s imagination is elegantly written and very moving. Although not particularly graphic or dark it will nevertheless leave a deep impact in any reader’s minds. Mr. Boyne is a master in depicting the setting and capturing the character’s emotions. The style is meant for the eyes of Young people therefore it may seem a bit simplistic for grown-ups, so with this in mind be prepare to read a sanitised version of the period, one with little historical significance and enjoy it for what it is.
Random House Children's Books | October 23, 2007 | Trade Paperback
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
Bruno is nine-years-old when he arrives home from school one day to find the maid, Maria packing up the belongings in his room. He becomes very upset and demands to know what is going on when his mother comes into the room and asks him to meet her downstairs in the dining room. Bruno is so anxious that he speeds past his mother and his waiting for her downstairs before she even has a chance to step off the first stair. She tells Bruno that his father has received an important promotion and they must leave Berlin and move to another city and live in another house. Bruno, of course, is quite upset as he doesn't want to leave his beloved home nor his three best friends. His mother assures him that things will be alright and that the whole family including: Bruno; his twelve-year-old sister, Gretel; their father; the maid, Maria; the butler, Lars; and Cook will all be moving together.
When they arrive at the new house Bruno is very disappointed as it sat almost in the middle of nowhere with no other homes nearby nor markets or stores. All Bruno can see from the window of his new bedroom is a fence with barbed wire on top, some huts in the distance, and older men, younger men, and boys all wearing the same grey striped pajamas and grey striped cap with soldiers watching them. He doesn't even know what his father's job is.
What is this place and what could possibly be his father's job working with all these dirty, filthy people all dressed the same? He wants to be an explorer so decides to go for a walk. He follows the fence along for quite a distance until he comes to a piece of fencing where he sees a small boy. The boy approaches the fence and he and Bruno and make introductions and begin talking. The boy's name is Shmuel, he is the same age as Bruno and even shares the same birthday. During an entire year, naïve Bruno brings his new friend bread, cheese and cake most days as the boy doesn't have enough to eat.
One day Bruno is told by his father that his mother, Gretel and Bruno will be returning to Berlin while he stays and continues working at the same job. He tells Bruno that it is no place to raise children and he'd be much happier back in Berlin. Bruno is devastated, he doesn't want to go back to Berlin now because he doesn't want to leave Shmuel but they plan to have a last day together like no other bringing the story to a crashing end! I was totally taken aback at the ending and didn't expect it at all.
John Boyne has written a book about nine-year-olds that isn't for nine-year-olds as it says on the back cover of the novel. Don't miss this one people, it'll surprise you and break your heart so have some kleenex standing by. Beautifully and hauntingly written.
Although I laughed at some of the situations that I read about I know realize that there was nothing to laugh about since the book is actually very sad in the end.
Many Jews were killed in this concentration camp and we know that it is horrible to think of all the things Hitler did but we need to know about all these things.
Here is a poem that I wrote myself about Concentration Camps
O what a shame
Never any pity from those nasty Germans
Can we even express the horrible deeds done
Even we know that Jews are not animals
Not fair or even civelized
Ready to die?
Inclosed in a fence
Opposite of nice
Never do something like it!