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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Boyne, John
ISBN: 0385751532     ISBN-13: 9780385751537
Publisher: Ember
    OUR PRICE: $8.99  
Product Type: Paperback - Other Formats
Published: October 2007
Annotation: Berlin 1942
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

"From the Hardcover edition."

Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Concentration camps; Poland; Fiction.
Friendship; Fiction.
Nazis; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: bl2007024236
Lexile Measure: 1080
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.00" H x 5.25" W x 0.50" (0.40 lbs) 231 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 109203
Reading Level: 5.8   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 7.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q39929
Reading Level: 8.3   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 12.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971 and studied at Trinity College, Dublin, and the University of East Anglia, Norwich. His novels have been published in over forty languages, and his books for young readers include Noah Barleywater Runs Away and The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas won two Irish Book Awards, topped the New York Times bestseller list, and was adapted into a Miramax feature film. He lives in Dublin. To learn more, visit

From the Hardcover edition.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring)
In 1943 Bruno, age nine, moves with his family to "Out-With." His father is the Commander of the camp, reporting to a man Bruno calls the "Fury." For both its plot and emotional impact, the novel depends too much on readers' acceptance of Bruno's naivete as well as their belief in a fictional world poised between fable and realism, each of which compromises the other. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2006 #5)
Bruno is nine in 1943, when his father's job takes the family to live in a place Bruno calls "Out-With." Out-With is quite unlike Bruno's neighborhood in Berlin; the only other children besides Bruno and his older sister Gretel live on the other side of a barbed-wire fence where there is nothing but "low huts and large square buildings dotted around and one or two smokestacks in the distance." Bruno's father is the Commander of the camp, reporting directly to a man Bruno calls the "Fury." Despite the author's determined attempts to baby-talk the real world out of it, the story keeps begging questions: the Allies were already bombing Berlin in 1942, yet Bruno doesn't know there's a war on? Does he really think "Heil Hitler" is "another way of saying, 'Well, goodbye for now, have a pleasant afternoon'"? Even after Bruno secretly befriends one of the inmates, he still doesn't get it: "I don't see why I have to be stuck over here on this side of the fence where there's no one to talk to and no one to play with and you get to have dozens of friends and are probably playing for hours every day." For both its plot and emotional impact, the novel depends completely on readers' acceptance of Bruno's naivetŽ (often telegraphed by the phrase "his mouth made the shape of an O") as well as their belief (or at least suspended disbelief) in a fictional world poised between fable and realism, each of which compromises the other. If Auschwitz is the metaphor, what's the real story? Copyright 2006 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2007 October #2)
Boyne explores one boy's increasing comprehension of the terrifying political and social trends of 1942 Germany. "The tension rises precipitously in the final pages and the harrowing ending is sure to take readers' breath away," said PW. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2006 July #3)

In 1942 Berlin, nine-year-old Bruno returns from school to discover that his father, a high-ranking military officer, has a new job. He announces that the family Bruno, mother and his older sister, Gretel is moving "for the foreseeable future" to somewhere described only as "far away." Their journey unfolds through Bruno's eyes his poignant initial objection is that the new house is not nearly as nice as the one they vacated. Worse still, he misses his friends. Beyond the tall fence separating his yard from an adjacent compound of crude huts, however, Bruno sees potential playmates, all clad in gray-striped pajamas. Though the publisher has kept plot details under wraps (e.g., cover copy and promotional materials include no specifics), readers with even a rudimentary knowledge of 20th-century history will figure out, before Bruno does, where he lives and why the title boy he meets in secret at the fence each afternoon is pale, thin and sad. The protagonist's naf perspective is both a strength and weakness of this simple, thought-provoking story. What occurs next door is, in fact, unimaginable. But though Bruno aspires to be an explorer when he grows up, his passivity and failure to question or puzzle out what's going on in what he calls "Out-With" diminishes him as a character. It strains credulity to believe that an officer's son would have absolute ignorance about the political realities of the day. But that is the point. How could the world outside the fence not have known, or have known and failed to act on, what was happening inside it? In the final pages, the tension rises precipitously and the harrowing ending, in which Bruno does finally act, is sure to take readers' breath away. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)

[Page 158]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Review 2006 September)

Gr 9 Up Boyne has written a sort of historical allegorya spare, but vividly descriptive tale that clearly elucidates the atmosphere in Nazi Germany during the early 1940s that enabled the persecution of Eastern European Jews. Through the eyes of Bruno, a naive nine-year-old raised in a privileged household by strict parents whose expectations included good manners and unquestioning respect for parental authority, the author describes a visit from “the Fury” and the family’s sudden move from Berlin to a place called “Out-With” in Poland. There, not 50 feet away, a high wire fence surrounds a huge dirt area of low huts and large square buildings. From his bedroom window, Bruno can see hundreds (maybe thousands) of people wearing striped pajamas and caps, and “something made him feel very cold and unsafe.” Uncertain of what his father actually does for a living, the boy is eager to discover the secret of the people on the other side. He follows the fence into the distance, where he meets Shmuel, a skinny, sad-looking Jewish resident who, amazingly, has his same birth date. Bruno shares his thoughts and feelings with Shmuel, some of his food, and his final day at “Out-With,” knowing instinctively that his father must never learn about this friendship. While only hinting at violence, blind hatred, and deplorable conditions, Boyne has included pointed examples of bullying and fearfulness. His combination of strong characterization and simple, honest narrative make this powerful and memorable tale a unique addition to Holocaust literature for those who already have some knowledge of Hitler’s “Final Solution.”Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

[Page 202]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.