Cloud and Wallfish (hardcover)
by Anne Nesbet
AR Level 5.8, 12 points
Cloud and Wallfish is about a boy named Noah who had to forget everything he thought he knew about himself when his parents pick him up from school and move to East Germany during the Cold War, right before the Berlin Wall was torn down. Noah is given a new name (Jonah), a new birthday, and a new identity, including a book of class pictures that aren’t really of him. He is given a set of rules that require him to be seen and not heard, lest he give away their true identities. Noah is told it is so his mother can study children with stutters (like himself), but he later finds that may not be the complete truth. Noah, lonely and confused, makes friends with a girl named Claudia whose parents died in a car accident and is being raised by her frightening grandmother. Claudia (Cloud) and Noah/Jonah (Wallfish, which sounds like the german word for whale) become friends and create a bond that cannot be broken by time.
What I liked about this book was that I learned a lot about what life was like for East Germans during the Cold War. It is a time period I was never really interested in, so I don’t have a lot of knowledge about it, and I appreciated that this book broke it down through both narrative and “fact files” so I could have a background. That was a clever strategy the author used.
What I didn’t like about this book was that I was disappointed. I had high hopes for this book and REALLY thought I’d love it. It is well-written, but it was a little slow for me. I actually had to renew this book from the library, because I couldn’t finish it in the time I had it. I also have questions that have yet to be answered. There were things that either weren’t explained or weren’t clear, possibly because I rushed through the ending to finally see the finish.
Book 7 of 40