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The Winged Watchman (1962)

by Hilda Van Stockum

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641525,238 (4.08)10
During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, ten-year-old Joris and his older brother Dirk Jan become involved in the resistance movement and, with the help of their parents, help conceal a British airman.
  1. 20
    The Borrowed House by Hilda Van Stockum (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: This book is written by the same author within the same time period, only the roles are reversed. The main character is a German girl. THis book is still just as exciting as THe Winged Watchman.

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Showing 5 of 5
In Holland during the German occupation, a family living in and taking care of a windmill struggle to make ends meet while also helping those with even less. The youngest son discovers a downed American pilot and helps him hide until his family can help get him into allied territory. So many children's books of a certain era are set in WWII Europe and explore the hardships therein, which is understandable, but it's easy to get bogged down in such an embarrassment of riches. This one hits somewhere in the middle of the pile - not exactly weak, but not exactly outstanding, either. ( )
  electrascaife | Apr 29, 2019 |
Lovely. Reminded me of other family-centered stories in times of adversity, such as Snow Treasure, or the All-of-a-Kind Family stories. ( )
  Turrean | Feb 15, 2014 |
A Nerd Christmas present from Shannon this year, yay!

It's a really sweet and short historical novel. Joris is such a sweet protagonist. I like books where children have extremely strong feelings. Everything with his pets is the best. The scene where the Nazis are taking people's dogs away, ARE YOU SERIOUS. Of course it is serious, but oh gosh the tears. And, anything in which "puppies are born" figures into the plot is good for at least one extra star.

The setting is pretty cool, allowing for an exciting action scene on the wings of the windmill and all. I would have definitely liked reading about Joris's life when I was a kid. But I confess I didn't really understand the whole polders-and-dikes system very much, which would have been nice. I guess that could be clearer.

The book is a little, I guess you'd call it quaint? It's really patriarchal, which started to feel like it was preventing the characters from having great depth. The women are all good and sweet, apparently just because they're girls. When Dirk Jan has his adventure delivering a message for the underground, he is thrilled to see some shooting at last, and I thought the chapter was going to end with a sobering realization that shooting is more complicated and horrible than thrilling. But it didn't. That's not doing the boy characters many favors either.

And uh. The Christmas scene with the blackfaced elf. Oh boy. HOLLAND.

But the book ends really really well. The house is filled with puppies even as people are being lost, and when peace arrives they feel a little sadder instead of happier. Change is difficult, but people are good at helping each other. ( )
  pokylittlepuppy | Mar 22, 2010 |
The ingenuity and patriotism of the Dutch people during the Nazi occupation during WWII. ( )
  MereYom | Jul 10, 2008 |
Another great Weekly Reader book. I did a book report on it ( )
  janimar |
Showing 5 of 5
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During the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, ten-year-old Joris and brother Dirk Jan become involved in the resistance movement and, with the help of their parents, help conceal a British airman.
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