All parent member reviews for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

Parents say

(out of 11 reviews)
age 12+
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Parent Written byjoannesmith February 10, 2014

Holocaust story with great potential has been watered down to inaccurate dullness

While the premise of this story has excellent potential for an educational yet emotional novel, John Boyne has weakened the actual facts of the Holocaust and made his characters dull and unrealistic. For one, a nine-year-old like Shmuel would not have lasted a year in Auschwitz. He would have been taken straight to the gas chambers upon arrival. And I find it highly improbable that the son of a high-ranking Nazi general would not know what a death camp, Hitler, a Nazi, or a Jew was. And the stupidity of the children in the story is almost unbearable. Bruno, in an attempt to be seen as "innocent", is oblivious and completely unaware of his surroundings to the point that I suspected he might have severe mental challenges, and Gretel is portrayed as far too immature for her age of 12-13. The author has watered down the brutal facts of the camps to the point that it is impossible that the events in the book would have even happened, even if Shmuel has escaped death for a year or more at the camp. For there to be a completely unguarded section of the -- electric -- fence where Bruno and Shmuel could talk, for there to be a hole big enough for a fat nine-year-old to slip through unharmed but no Jews that had ever escaped, and for Bruno to see absolutely no death during the time he spoke with Shmuel is absolutely impossible. Had the author perhaps reconstructed the premise, fixed the errors, and made characters of reasonable intelligence, this story may have been a tear-jerking, heartwrenching tale of the horrors of the Holocaust. Unfortunately, he didn't, and now we're left with an inaccurate and soft portrayal that almost leaves you thinking that the Holocaust might not have been all that bad.
Adult Written bymoviemadness April 9, 2008

A total must-read for tweens+

This heartbreaking story of friendship and innocence is too sad for younger kids. The book is well-written, and explores complex issues from a child's perspective. Wonderful and honest. One of the best books ever.
Parent of a 15 year old Written byoc April 19, 2011
The story is wonderfully awesome as i m feeling to cry! I ve read it right now.! And for all the readers i personally feel that you must watch the movie..its very emotional and heart touching...the two little boys have acted so beautifully especially the nazi's son that at the end of the story i literally felt cry..:'( MUST WATCH THE MOVIE. Thank u.
What other families should know
Too much consumerism
Educational value
Parent of a 17 year old Written bylove2 September 24, 2009

good book!

the book at the very end was sad and will be WAY to CONFUSING AND SAD FOR KIDS UNDER 11.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Parent Written byParentAndTeacher January 12, 2012

WONDERFUL.

My 11 year-old loved the book! She watched the movie 2 years back though. :)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Educator Written bysb34chick November 21, 2009

Read with your child; talk about it together.

This is a great story, well-told, but has a very strong ending. That is why I rated this as age 15+. The end of the story is very disturbing, and readers will not fully understand the story without a basic understanding of the holocaust. I highly suggest reading this with your child, no matter what age!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written bytx.aquamom June 16, 2009

Very thought provoking

I really enjoyed this book. Its sad but I enjoyed the way the author handled the holocaust on a kid's level. I read this book months ago, but still think about it quite a bit.
Adult Written byrakshq September 23, 2015

An Important Book For Young Children

A lot of reviews on here criticising the book are amazing and well intended and I really respect those. But it is important to remember that the Author's soul intention was to educate very young children (Bruno's age) early on about the horrors of the Holocaust and evil, hate and war without actually shocking tender minds too much about the kind of unthinkable unspeakable things that happened that even most adults cannot handle thinking about. Not that I recommend the book for children Bruno's age mind you. I rated 10+ because that is roughly around the time I read it myself and I was a very mature and intelligent child. But it is really up to you to decide whether you think your child is ready and can handle it well. Of course the Boy in the striped pajamas is certainly completely ludicrous to adults and completely unrealistic. But the Author did leave a disclaimer in the book on that fact. A lot of parents therefore are too hesitant and don't educate young impressionable minds early on about such crucial topics as they should. It is such a taboo and horrific subject. But with this book there is no excuse not to. It teaches kids some basic things in a way they can really relate to the characters and the story. That people lived in squalid conditions hence the flees. That people were starving hence Smuel always hungry and so skinny you could see his veins. That people were gassed to death and the author leaves it to the child's imagination the panic and horror that enfolds once they are all locked in there and it goes dark. It is further emphasized at the end by focusing on the door that "After they've all stopped screaming you know they're dead". But it is important to talk to the child later on and just say how these terrible things happened a very long time ago and as long as we are kind and loving to each other they will never happen again. It is also important I think that they should already be covering the topic at school for them at the time. I myself read this book at the age of 12 and at school we were being taught the real horrors of the Holocaust very different indeed from the book and it did really shock me and move me indeed. But I actually listened to the Audiobook of it and that way I had no clues or pictures as to what the book be about. But they were talking about striped pajamas, fences, starving and I remember thinking yes this definitely about the Holocaust and as the story unravelled I discovered I was right. So I think these kinds of books are very good in helping teach young children in a gentle and engaging way.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Too much violence
Adult Written byK.Erickson March 7, 2011

Perfect for tweens and older

I thought it was a great betrayal of events and history. I found myself quite emotional by the end of the story. I would definitely read the book again!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Parent of a 2 and 14 year old Written byMandasia May 17, 2010

great for 13 and up but under 13 i dont recamend it.

What other families should know
Educational value
Adult Written bymadmamma February 28, 2010

Good introduction to the horror of the Holocaust for kids

My 12 year old just read the book in school, then we watched the movie with his 8 year old brother. Both were excellent in our opinion because both were gentle in their portrayal of a horrific time. We have always discussed everything openly and fully and although both kids don't fully understand the depth of the horror of that time, with this book & movie, and the fact that it is told from a child's perspective, they have begun to think about it and ask questions - a good thing all-round!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models