Nazi Prison Camp Escape

HarperCollins. (Great Escapes: Bk. 1). Apr. 2020. 128p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780062860361.
Gr 3-6–Readers of this new historical fiction series meet Mr. Bill Ash, a U.S. citizen who joined the Canadian Royal Air Force in 1940. His indomitable spirit permeates the story as the author realistically depicts Ash’s multiple escape attempts and the consequences of his failures. Informative sidebars about topics as varied as the Great Depression and prisoner-of-war camps in the United States complement the text by providing additional context. At least one sidebar feels out of place, however, because it details events that have not yet occurred. Readers learn through an author’s note that the story is based on a real person and events, with fictionalized dialogue. Black-and-white illustrations serve the action of the text well. Since this is Ash’s story, his character has the most depth, and the author portrays him positively throughout the narrative. The novel’s strengths are the action-driven plot and the believable setting. A useful bibliography lists both adult and juvenile nonfiction titles.
VERDICT A straightforward account that highlights a lesser-known World War II service member. Purchase where there is high demand for WWII literature.

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