Review Blog

Jun 05 2009

Shrapnel by Robert Swindells

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Corgi, 2009. ISBN 978 0 552 559300
(Ages 10-13) When young Gordon finds a gun hidden in the chimney of his brother's room in their London home, he is agog. His brother is rarely home, and in his late teens, has not enlisted in the services, and he is never home to receive his call up papers when they arrive. Gordon, however knows where he hangs out and waits for him. When confronted with the story of the gun, Raymond tells Gordon that he is a government spy, doing underground work in secret, and enlists Gordon's help. Gordon is sent to buy a model plane which he is then to let fly over the fence of a nearby factory. Gordon does this three times, believing himself to be helping fight the Germans, but the third time, police are involved and Gordon runs.
A thriller about one boy's involvement in bigger issues than school, and the collection of shrapnel, Swindell's story gives readers a different perspective of war at home. With airplane battles overhead, buildings being bombed, people rushing to their shelters and students collecting shrapnel to sell to their classmates, the story has an authority which will intrigue its readers.
Fran Knight

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