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Mapping the Bones
Contributor(s): Yolen, Jane
ISBN: 0399257780     ISBN-13: 9780399257780
Publisher: Philomel Books
    OUR PRICE: $16.19  
Product Type: Hardcover
Published: March 2018
Annotation: In Poland in the 1940s, the lives of twins Chaim and Gittel feel like a fairy tale torn apart as they must rely on each other to endure life in a ghetto and the horrors of a concentration camp where they lose everything but each other.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Brothers and sisters; Fiction.
Twins; Fiction.
Jews; Poland; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: 2016059474
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Fiction
Physical Information: 8.50" H x 5.75" W x 1.50" (1.20 lbs) 417 pages
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q72740
Reading Level: 5.2   Interest Level: Grades 9-12   Point Value: 23.0
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2018 #3)
Yolen (The Devil's Arithmetic; Briar Rose) returns to the horrors of the Holocaust in this "Hansel and Gretel"–inspired story of cruelty, survival, and love. It begins in the Lodz ghetto, to which Jewish fourteen-year-old twins Chaim and Gittel Abromowitz have been forcibly relocated with their parents. Every knock on the door brings fear and uncertainty, and one day it means opening their tiny apartment to another family—Dr. and Mrs. Norenberg and their children, kindhearted Sophie and "bulldoggish" Bruno. Then Dr. Norenberg disappears, Mrs. Norenberg's mental health deteriorates, and the Abromowitzes receive warning of their imminent "wedding invitation" (i.e., transport to a camp). The two families plan an escape, but the Abromowitz and Norenberg children become separated from their parents. The children find themselves first with a band of Partisans in the Lagiewniki Forest and then, to their horror, in the (fictional) Sobanek forced labor camp, where they are made to build munitions for the German and Polish armies and where the twins are subjected to gruesome medical experiments. Yolen's prose is stark and accessible, with Chaim's interspersed, lyrical poetry serving as a reminder that art can be a means of resistance and survival. The "Gittel Remembers" sections, narrated by the character as an adult, provide some relief in foreshadowing survival and hope for the twins' eventual futures. An appended author's note tells more about the real-life history and about Yolen's research. elissa gershowitz Copyright 2018 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2017 December #3)

Yolen (The Devil's Arithmetic) returns to the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust in this expansive, eloquent novel about siblings Chaim and Gittel Abromowitz, 14-year-old twins connected by a secret language and a fierce love for each other. Their Jewish family has been relocated to the Lódz ghetto in Poland, stuffed into a small apartment with another family, the difficult Norenbergs, including children Sophie and Bruno. As the situation in the ghetto worsens and Dr. Norenberg disappears, Chaim pawns his mother's engagement ring so both families can make a dangerous escape into the forest and, eventually, across the border into the Soviet Union. Before long, the children are separated from their parents, by death and the partisans (Nazi resistors) who help them make the crossing. Yolen's Briar Rose combined the tragedies of the Holocaust with the story of Sleeping Beauty; the echoes of Hansel and Gretel in Chaim and Gittel's harrowing journey are equally effective, and no less horrific. Interludes highlighting Gittel's memories and Chaim's poetry provide glimpses of hope and brightness amid the cruelties the children endure. Ages 12–up. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Mar.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2018 February)

Gr 6 Up—"To die was easy, to live was harder." Thus begins the story of Chaim and Gittel, Jewish twin siblings living during the time of the Nazi regime. Almost-mute Chaim and his sister struggle through everyday life during World War II. The decisions they make each day, even those that are minute, will affect their chances of survival. "We have chosen the more difficult path, that of life, now we must walk it." The siblings rely on each other and their uncanny ability to understand the other's thoughts through their own sign language. The relationship will engross readers as they are drawn to the unimaginable circumstances with which the children are faced. Readers may find some of the content depressing and emotional though necessary to maintain the authenticity of the time and setting in which the story takes place. Fans of Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic will be engrossed in this story until the last page. Those who appreciate historical fiction, specifically works set during World War II, will find this an important addition. VERDICT History teachers and librarians alike will want to add this selection to their World War II—era collections.—Megan Honeycutt, University of West GeorgiaHigh School

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal.