The Hid­ing Game

Gwen Strauss; Herb Leon­hard, illus.
  • Review
By – November 20, 2017

The Hid­ing Game by Gwen Strauss | Jew­ish Book Coun­cil

In Octo­ber 1940, Aube and her par­ents find refuge from the Nazis in a vil­la out­side of Paris. There she meets magi­cian Var­i­an Fry and his assis­tant, Dan­ny Bénédite. Even in hid­ing, the group, which includes painter Marc Cha­gall, find ways to enter­tain them­selves with art and music.

Peo­ple come and go as the vil­la serves as a tem­po­rary safe haven. But in Decem­ber, police raid the vil­la and take all the men away. Aube’s father is released a week lat­er, but the group knows they must leave the vil­la for­ev­er. By the time Aube and her par­ents leave in Feb­ru­ary 1941, she holds her own muse­um of draw­ings by famous artists in her bag.

This sto­ry is based on the expe­ri­ences of the author’s great-uncle, the real Dan­ny Bénédite. A back mat­ter sec­tion, The His­to­ry,” explains the true sto­ry and includes sev­er­al cap­tioned pho­tographs. Also includ­ed is an anno­tat­ed list of guests of the vil­la, end­notes, and fur­ther reading.

The text of the main nar­ra­tive offers a chal­leng­ing vocab­u­lary. The illus­tra­tions are superb and cap­ture the won­der of the vil­la and the dan­ger of the times. The book adds sig­nif­i­cant­ly to the canon of Holo­caust books for chil­dren and demon­strates there is good at the same time as evil.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 8 to 10.

Bar­bara Kras­ner is the author of many books across gen­res, includ­ing fic­tion, poet­ry, cre­ative non­fic­tion, and chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture. Her recent titles include 37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939, Civil­ian Casu­al­ties in War and Ethel’s Song: Ethel Rosen­berg’s Life in Poems. Her book Goldie Takes a Stand! Gol­da Meir’s First Cru­sade was a recip­i­ent of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Hon­or Award. She holds a Ph.D. in Holo­caust and geno­cide stud­ies from Gratz Col­lege, teach­es in the Holo­caust and geno­cide stud­ies pro­gram at the Col­lege of New Jer­sey, and serves as direc­tor of the Mer­cer Coun­ty Holo­caust, Geno­cide, and Human Rights Edu­ca­tion Cen­ter. She also holds an MFA in writ­ing for chil­dren and young adults from the Ver­mont Col­lege of Fine Arts.

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