This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of Anne Frank and her world through the eyes of her pet cat Mouschi, who Anne wrote about in her diary. Mouschi tells of his life in hiding with those he calls the “Yellow Stars,” who need to stay hidden from the “Black Spider Soldiers” and their dogs. As the only member of the family living in the attic over the spice factory who is free to roam the streets of Amsterdam, Mouschi describes the situation: Yellow Stars being herded into cars and taken away, many being hidden above the animal cages in the Artis Zoo, and children being rescued from a Jewish theater-turned-prison by a brave red-haired girl later named in the authors’ notes as Dutch Resistance fighter Hannie Schaft.
Many books for children about Anne Frank and her family have been published in the past several years and, with some notable exceptions, most are retellings of what Anne wrote in her diary about her and her family’s experiences in hiding. This book approaches the topic from a different angle, using a pet as narrator, which will appeal to many children and provides a comforting distance from a troubling subject. It is a gentle but effective introduction to one aspect of the Holocaust, and to this well-known family.
The two appendices provide more information about Anne and her life, and about the real places and people referenced in the story. There is also a comprehensive bibliography useful for further reading for both parents and children.
This book makes an excellent read-aloud as well as an independent read for more advanced readers. It is an excellent resource for introducing the Holocaust in classrooms.