Put Out The Light by Terry Deary

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Put Out The Light by Terry Deary

Buy Put Out The Light by Terry Deary at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: An evocative and enjoyable tale of both Britain and Germany in World War II. The historical accuracy, as you'd expect from Terry Deary, is first-rate, and the characters and plot are gripping enough to entertain readers of all ages.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 256 Date: September 2010
Publisher: A & C Black Publishers Ltd
ISBN: 978-1408130544

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In 1940, Billy and Sally Thomas are living in Sheffield, a city which is well aware that German bombs will almost surely find their way there sooner or later. As the air raid sirens blare out, they help friendly Warden Crane to make sure the blackout is kept up - but when they find that people are having money stolen while they're in the shelters, they try to solve the crime. Meanwhile, in Germany, Manfred and Hansl are determined to do their bit for the war effort by getting into the bomb factory and writing an English soldier's name on a bomb. Then they meet Polish youngster Irena and become quickly embroiled in a frantic escape attempt. By December, the two sets of children will both have been thrust into the thick of the action, and we get a finale that's truly explosive – in more ways than one!

Deary does a great job of juggling various storylines here, confidently moving between the children in each country and Billy's neighbour Paul and Manfred's brother Ernst, who are both pilots. All of the characters are clearly portrayed, with my favourite being Irena, who quickly shows Manfred and Hansl the reality behind the Nazi teaching they are given in school and shows incredible courage as her situation gets worse and worse. He also packs in a huge amount of historical fact, some of which was new to me, despite me considering myself to be reasonably knowledgeable on the time period. There's definitely no attempt to sugarcoat the harsh realities of war either, as we see vicious prison camp guards and inmates, aerial dogfights, and black market deals.

While I've long admired Deary's Horrible Histories series this was my first venture into his fiction writing. I definitely wasn't disappointed – there's the accuracy I'd have expected combined with great excitement and it's written in a really easy to read style that older primary school children will be able to enjoy by themselves, but the action is so good that even older teens and adults will also no doubt really like it, especially if they're already interested in the Second World War. High recommendation to all!

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. We also have a review of Ghost for Sale by Terry Deary.

Further reading suggestion: The Morris Gleitzman trilogy Once, Then and Now are heartbreaking stories of the Holocaust for children. Older readers who enjoy graphic novels will be stunned by Art Spiegelman's fantastic Maus.

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Buy Put Out The Light by Terry Deary at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Put Out The Light by Terry Deary at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Put Out The Light by Terry Deary at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Put Out The Light by Terry Deary at Amazon.com.


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