This title won the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award in 2000.
Jackie French was born in Sydney in 1953, grew up in Brisbane and moved to her present home in the NSW bush in her early twenties. She lives with her husband Bryan in a house they built themselves with stone from the creek with power from a homemade waterwheel when it's too shady for the solar panels, six wombats and various other birds and animals. She writes for all age groups - from the under 6's to the over 60's. She has won many awards for her children's titles and has been a recipient of two Commonwealth Literary Awards. She is regarded as the guru of Australian organic growing, having written over sixty books on farming, gardening and pest control. She has her own TV show on gardening in Australia.
Gr 4-6-In order to amuse themselves while waiting for the school bus, a group of contemporary Australian children encourage their friend Anna to tell a story. "She always added details so you saw the story in your mind." But this time, the story has real characters in it. Anna imagines that Hitler had a daughter whom he kept hidden, because of a large birthmark on her face and a lame leg. Heidi, the imaginary child, leads a protected life during World War II with her governess. As the days go by, the story grows in power for 10-year-old Mark. He begins to wonder what it must have been like to have an evil father like Hitler, and he begins to question his own parents and the fact that they live on land that was originally occupied by Aborigines. The two stories proceed in tandem at an uneven pace. Heidi is the most interesting character. Mark is the only contemporary character developed in any depth, but his growing conflict with his parents and the ethical issues tossed up by the story are cut short and don't lead anywhere. For most of the book, it isn't clear how Anna knows enough to tell Heidi's story, complete with details of Berchtesgaden and Hitler's bunker. The answer to this question comes at the end. While affecting, it is also a letdown. The implication is that Anna's grandmother, who told her the story, was, or could have been, Hitler's daughter. While it is based on an interesting idea and could be used as a discussion starter, this novel is ultimately unsatisfying.-Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
A story that will fascinate and involve all thoughtful young readers; it is a true original, beautifully told and impossible to put down - don't miss it! 'Wendy Cooling, Children's Book Consultant' This novel shows her at her best, challenging her young readers without distressing them, and bringing believable characters vividly to alive on the page... a joy to read. 'Canberra Times' An outstanding novel told through the power of a compelling storyteller .'Reading Time'