by Jerry Spinelli
AR Level 3.6, 7 points
Ah. This book. I knew it would be a good one, but I kept putting it off, because it’s been in my library forever. I don’t think anyone has ever checked it out, and if they did, I have never heard them tell me about it. It is a good read, and it gives a whole new perspective of the ghettos in Europe during World War II, something I enjoy reading about (despite the grisly and depressing topic). Plus, Jerry Spinelli has a strong voice and distinct writing style, so I could hear his voice coming through as I read.
There is a little boy in Milkweed who goes by several different names, Stopthief and Misha being two of them. He has no parents, no siblings, no family at all, except for a group of other abandoned/orphaned street kids who help keep him alive. It is believed he is a gypsy and not a Jew, but once he is in the ghetto, he is adopted by a Jewish family, and he is treated as one of them. We follow Misha as he struggles to survive until the very end. I won’t tell you when the end for him is, but it is definitely worth the read. It is also written at a third grade level, so it isn’t a tough read, and should go very quickly once you get into it.
What I liked about this book was learning what it was like to live in the ghetto as a homeless, orphaned, ignorant little kid. I say ignorant, because he just doesn’t understand a lot of what goes on. He is blissfully ignorant, but unfortunately, learns about life through experiences, both good and bad.
What I didn’t like about this book was the ending. I felt like 95% of the book was about his life in a matter of years, and then it speeds through the rest of his life and skips to the end. There were too many unanswered questions for me, and I just didn’t like the way it ended. I’d have been okay with it ending more predictably.
Book 1 of… who cares! I just want to read for fun. No more annual challenges for me!