Run Rabbit Run by Barbara Mitchelhill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'll be honest, the author sent this book to me to read, as she knew I'd leave a review. I don't usually pick up children's fiction, unless you include Harry Potter or Lord of The Rings/The Hobbit.
However, I must say - remembering it's aimed at 9 to 12 year olds - it was a great read. In fact, I enjoyed being taken back to 1942, wartime Britain, and getting an insight to what life was like. I actually think this book would work well in schools - history told through fiction. The author isn't heavy with the description, obviously to suit the genre, but it gives enough to make you take a step back in time.
Will Butterworth is a conscientious objector. His wife was killed by a bomb hitting her shop. When faced with prison or going to war, both meaning separation from his two children, he chooses to go on the run. They will stay together as a family.
It's told in first person from Lizzie's point of view who is twelve. Her brother, Freddie, is six. There are some real highs and lows for these two children. At one point, I really did have a lump in my throat, and tears welling.
In the authors acknowledgements, she states that although the characters are hers, the story is based on true events. I love things about the war, it fascinates me. This book did just that, too.
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On a side note to this review, I thought I would blog too. This book has made me think. It interested me that men were being sent off to war like they were. Both of my grandads were in the war, and I didn't even realise it was because they HAD to sign up. Thankfully both survived (although have both passed away now) but I am sure there are a lot of families out there missing a Grandad due to the war.
My dad's dad (Grandad Frewing) luckily worked as a driver in the UK, but reading this book and that they took all the signposts down, meant he had to know routes like the back of his hand. I know that Grandad Habicht (my mum's dad) also survived the war (he died when I was ten, but I have vague memories of him), and I am sure he was stationed abroad (my nan commented about how handsome he looked in his uniform coming off the train) but I don't know whereabouts... I think he may have been in Africa, I will have to ask my nan.
As for my husband's grandfathers, Grandad Freddie (Morgan), who will be 93 this year, he told me only last year how he joined the Air Force. Everyone was being told to join the army, but he thought, if he was going to do this, he was going to get something out of it, so insisted on joining the Air Force. He told me a fascinating story, which I wish I'd recorded! Because I can't recall it all now really - and he's great at telling his tales, laughing at the mischief he got up to! Anyway, he worked on the planes, and it set him up for life in engineering, which his son, and grandson (my husband) also followed suit in. Will his great grandson's do the same, could it flow in the Morgan blood?
As for Grandad Dicey - also called Fred (who sadly died in 2005), he survived Dunkirk! If you've ever seen Saving Private Ryan, and all those men being shot from the boats, he was one of them men only real. Shot in the arm, he fell overboard, and I always remember him saying about how heavy his uniform was, and he would have drowned, but someone on a ship (I think) pulled him out of the water (or they pulled him back onto the boat, and got him on a ship) - whatever they saved his life! I think, once he was fit, he was then sent to Africa as a "desert rat" but he was never able to use his left arm properly, pinned into place, he couldn't bend his elbow much.
I know that my nan (Nanny Habicht) lost a couple of brothers in the war.
Terrible really, that men were sent to war, whether they wanted to go or not. Some people just don't have it in them to kill. It doesn't make them cowards. They were sent, like lambs to a slaughter house.