By Andrea Beach,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Suspenseful drama of escape from Nazi occupation in WWII.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Words and phrases in French and a few in German are translated. A map of occupied France is in the front, and the various areas are explained or shown in the story. Meggie demonstrates how to solve a substitution cypher. Author's notes at the end encourage creative thinking and problem solving by showing different kinds of codes, explaining how to break them, and providing examples for readers to try themselves, including one from WWII that no one has been able to break yet. Another note at the end gives some details about the real Special Operations Executive and encourages creative thinking about how to identify a spy.
Everyone has reasons for doing what they do that you probably don't know about, so don't assume someone who's doing bad things is evil or that someone who's helping you can automatically be trusted. No matter how hard the situation or problem is, never give up trying to find a way out of it. Use any solution you can think of, even if it's not a perfect one.
Positive Role Models
Meg, 12, can be very stubborn, but she's a good model for courage and perseverance. Over the course of the story she also shows compassion for others once she understands their situation. Jakob, 13, is a good model for loyalty, courage, perseverance, and teamwork. Meg's parents and grandmother are loving and show strong family bonds. Other adults are mysterious. The villain is a Nazi, ruthless and evil. But the story makes a distinction saying all Nazis are evil, but not all Germans are. Several Germans, even a few soldiers, actually help Meg and her companions along the way.
Violence & Scariness
Characters are frequently in danger of being captured and imprisoned or killed. There's lots of suspence and many scary situations, like a bombing and an avalanche that are resolved safely. Soldiers fire guns, and one character is wounded by a gunshot, mentioning that the bullet passed through the body, but no blood or gore are mentioned. Brief mention of another wounded character's clothes soaked in blood and cleaning up spots of blood.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rescue is historical fiction set in Nazi-occupied France during World War II by popular kids' and young-adult author Jennifer A. Nielsen. There's a lot of suspense from characters in danger of being captured by Nazis and fear of imprisonment or death. Soldiers fire guns and a couple of characters are wounded with brief mentions of blood but no other gore. Separation from parents is a strong theme. Readers will learn a lot about France during World War II, and are encouraged to try codebreaking themselves.
Where to Read
Based on 1 parent review
Best book ever
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What's the Story?
RESCUE is the story of 12-year-old Meg, who lives in France when it was occupied by the Nazis in World War II. Meg's father has been away from home for two years on a secret mission, so Meg and her mother move to the countryside to live on her grandmother's farm. Both Meg and her mother are secretly helping the Resistance by passing along coded messages about Nazi activity in the area. It's not long before a suspicious lieutenant brings soldiers to search the farm, and Meg will certainly be taken into custody if he's given the chance to interrogate her. Forced to flee her home, Meg agrees to help a family of Germans trying to escape the Nazis. Fortunately, Meg received a coded letter from her father to help her along the way, that is, if she can break the code, avoid the Nazis' clutches, and get her three companions across the mountains to freedom.
Is It Any Good?
Author Jennifer A. Nielsen has created a very suspenseful tale that will keep the pages turning as she weaves together elements like codebreaking, escaping to freedom, and figuring out whom to trust. Readers will enjoy cracking codes along with Meg and will learn a lot about creative thinking and World War II history. Most characters are not very well developed, but some of them do become more rounded out and believable as their stories unfold. Hopefully readers will get a lot of food for thought about why people do what they do, and about judging groups of people, espcially based on where they're from. It may also spark a real interest in code breaking in some readers, with plenty of chances to solve Meg's coded messages and others the author provides in the back. At 400 pages and with some advanced vocabulary, it's best for big kids and up, who are strong, independent readers.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about codebreaking in Rescue. Why is using codes and knowing how to break them important? Did you try to break any of the codes in the back of the book? Were you able to?
Did you know very much about life in France during World War II before you read this? What did you learn? What surprised you the most about the events portrayed?
Have you read any other books by this author, or any other historical fiction? What are you favorites?
- Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- Publication date: March 2, 2021
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 400
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: March 31, 2021
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