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Chosen by Jacqueline Wilson, February 2012 Guest Editor: "This is a very touching utterly convincing book about three wartime evacuees billeted to Wales. It's very much a children's story, with a mystery to be solved, but Nina Bawden is very subtle with her characterisation - even hateful Mr Evans with his cruel bullying is seen as sadly pathetic too. Carrie and her little brother Nick are a delight, but my favourite character is their friend Albert Sandwich. He might sport steel spectacles and have a few spots on his chin, but he's one of the most charming boys in all children's fiction."
I loved Carrie’s War from the moment I read it and have enjoyed it more and more with each rereading. At first, I appreciated Nina Bawden’s descriptions of the place and the people: the way she created the stifling atmosphere of the shop and how it contrasted with the freedom of everything that happened at Druid’s Bottom. I read it as the story of a girl being brave when she was away from home. Later, I came to realise that I and all other readers learned tolerance and understanding just like Carrie does.
When Carrie is evacuated to Wales with her brother, Nick, she is removed from everything she knows. In a new home and without her parents to advise her Carrie has to work out for herself how she feels about the places around her and how to respond to the unusual circumstances in which she finds herself. While Nick’s emotions are always open, both as he grieves for his missing parents and in how he throws himself without restraint into the new way of life, both embracing Auntie Lou and challenging the bullying councillor Evans, Carrie is more reserved. Carrie waits and watches: she accepts the new situations and considers them coolly. She takes time to adjust to living apart from her parents and to find that she can make decisions for herself. But it’s only when she and Nick are sent to Druid’s Bottom, the strange spooky house set down in the bottom of the valley, that she can really let herself go, having at last found people she can trust.
Carrie’s personal journey of discovery is a rich and marvellous one. It’s at Druid’s Bottom that Carrie meets Mrs Gotobed and discovers that growing old is not as terrible as it seems. Here to she meets Mr Johnny with his strange gobbling speech and learns that differences need not be frightening, while from her fellow evacuee Albert sandwich she learns to value her own intelligence. Above all it’s at Druids bottom that she meets the kindly and wise Hepzibah Green whose all-enveloping love and common sense keep Carrie going in difficult times.
Despite these themes of separation and the very real dangers posed by the background of the war, Carrie’s War is an upbeat lyrical story containing moments of emotional truth. It is also universal story about growing up, making choices and learning who you can trust. Above all, it’s a story of enormous warmth and understanding, capturing that all-important transition from childhood to adolescence as Carrie grows in her understanding and finds out what really matters to her.
One of the most heart-warming and unforgettable stories of the war tells the story of the evacuation of two children to Wales and about growing up amongst strangers and without family. It’s a wonderful evocation of times past and beautifully written. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Carrie and her little brother are evacuated to Wales and billeted at the home of the bullying Mr Evans and his timid sister Lou. Unhappy at home, they love visiting fellow evacuee, Albert, at the farm of Druid's Bottom. Here they meet Hepzibah Green, who knows magical stories, and Mister Johnny, who speaks a language all his own. But then things go wrong and Carrie takes things into her own hands - without guessing the awful consequences.
'Nina Bawden is without question one of the very best writers for children' Daily Telegraph
'Carrie's War is as vivid and elusive as a good dream. Faith Jaques's observant little pictures beautifully illustrate it.' The Times Educational Supplement
|Publication date:||2nd May 2013|
|Publisher:||Puffin Books an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd|
|Year Groups:||Key Stage 2|
Nina Bawden won numerous awards, has been widely translated into numerous languages - including French, German, Japanese, Farsi and Russian - and several of her novels have been filmed or made into television serials, the most recent being Family Money which was made for Channel Four and starred Claire Bloom. Nina Bawden died on 22 August 2012.More About Nina Bawden