Monday, December 10, 2018

"Twenty and Ten" by Claire Huchet Bishop

A few homeschooling mom friends recommended this to me a few years ago when I was teaching my oldest about WWII and trying to figure out how to explain the Holocaust to him because he's very sensitive, and was even more sensitive back then.  Unhappily, I never found a copy before we were done with school for the year.  Happily, I DID find a copy last year sometime, and finally managed to read it myself this fall.  

Even though my son is in 5th grade now, I'm still going to have him read this.  But I think I'll also have my 3rd-grade daughter read it too.  It's a solemn, but hope-filled story.  

When the Nazis occupy France during WWII, twenty French children are sent to the mountains to live with Sister Gabriel, a nun who teaches and cares for them.  They survive quietly there until one day a man arrives and asks if they would be willing to hide ten Jewish orphans who have fled the Nazis.  They agree to take in the ten extra children and share their meager food and clothing.  

At first, it's fun to have more playmates.  But one day, suspicious Nazi soldiers descend on the children while Sister Gabriel is gone.  It's up to those twenty French children to endure interrogation and intimidation... or else their ten new friends will be found and captured.

Based on a true story, this book is definitely serious, and tense in places, but not quite tense enough to be scary.  I'm really glad friends recommended it to me, and I look forward to discussing it with my kids later this year when they're studying WWII.  Courage, kindness, integrity, and ingenuity are all featured here, making a powerful impact in very few words.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG for tense and serious subject matter.


This is my 24th book read and reviewed for the Classics Club.


This is my 14th book read and reviewed for the Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2018.


And this is my 10th book read and reviewed for the Old School Kidlit Reading Challenge 2018!  Wahoo, I reached my goal for this too!

10 comments:

  1. I've heard so much about this book but never gotten around to reading it! I definitely want to, now. Great review <3

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    1. Jessica, definitely worth the half hour or so of your time to read! It's short, but powerful.

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  2. I LOVED this one growing up. I'm glad you enjoyed it too. Reminds me that I'll have to get a copy for my family.

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    1. Lois, I think I would have loved it as a kid too! Wish I'd heard of it then.

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  3. I love this book! It's one of my favourite children's novels.

    I'm not sure if you've read it yet, but Number The Stars is also a wonderful WWII story based on a true story. The real story is fascinating if you look it up ... after you've read the book, of course! ;-)

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    1. Cleo, I feel like I did read Number the Stars as a preteen. It seems super familiar. I know I read Diary of Anne Frank and The Hiding Place as a teen.

      Another good one for younger kids is Jars of Hope, which is a picture book and makes me cry.

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  4. I love this one. It' one of my little sister's favorites.

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    1. Florid Sword, I can see how it could be a favorite book! So poignant.

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  5. I read this soooo many times as a kid - I always loved the ending (the box filled with you-know-what always made my mouth water). Definitely need to reread it.

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    1. Eva, I can believe that! It made me a little hungry myself :-)

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