Review Detail

Real Life Adventure During WWII
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
3.0
Bill Ash was an American who volunteered for the Canadian Air Force in 1940, and was sent to Europe shortly afterward. In 1942, his plane was shot down over France, and while he was able to parachute down safely, he had to make sure he didn't run into Nazi soldiers on the ground. He got help from a French family, who fed and clothed him and connected him to the Resistance so he could try to get to Switzerland. While he managed to escape for a while, he soon found himself in Stalag Luft III. While there, he found himself often in "the cooler" (solitary confinement) and took part in many escape attempts. One involved tunneling out from an outhouse to the perimeter of the camp, with the stench of the outhouse helping the process! When the Allied troops arrived in France, Ash was finally able to get help from the British army. In all, he had attempted escape thirteen times.
Good Points
The bits of history interspersed throughout the story were perfect. Information about the planes, the POWs, the Resistance helps readers who might not know much about those topics. Ash's story is told in an engaging narrative form, and these brief snippets don't distract from that. The length is perfect, the details about camps and escaping are interesting, and the addition of occasional illustrations will help sell this to reluctant readers. There is another book in the works by Sherri Winston, Journey to Freedom 1838.

This was a very short book about WWII, and since Ash's story was so interesting, I wouldn't have minded if this had more details. Burgan writes a lot of nonfiction titles, so his research skills are top notch. It's good to see him venture into more fictionalized accounts!

This is a great choice for WWII aficionados, lovers of survival stories, and reluctant readers who want an action packed adventure. Hand this to readers who enjoyed Nobleman's Brave Like My Brother, Tarshis' I Survived books, or the Dear America books concentrating on military history.
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