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[Nonfiction Wednesday] The True To Life Mystery of the Village Fool’s Secret

The Secret Of The Village Fool by Rebecca Upjohn and Illustrated by Renné Benoit.

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.

While not technically a murder/crime story, I honestly feel that war, particularly genocide, is criminal. In that respect, this redemptive story of hope and deliverance can still fit our current reading theme.

The Secret Of The Village Fool

Written by Rebecca Upjohn Illustrated by Renné Benoit
Published by Second Story Press (2012)
ISBN-10: 1926920759 (ISBN13: 9781926920757)
Literary Award: OLA Forest of Reading Silver Birch Award for Express (2014)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

This story is based on the real life narrative of Anton Suchinski, a Polish man who was known as the Village Fool  in their sleepy little village. He was mocked for his strange ways (he was a vegetarian and respected all forms of life), and was told to steer clear of the Jewish family he was particularly close to. War is coming – and all the Jews are being rounded up, particularly young boys like Milek and Munio who had to dress up in girls’ clothes to disguise themselves.

Yet the Village Fool, who had never been taken seriously by the townsfolk, had taken it upon himself to hide Milek and Munio’s family in a makeshift tunnel he dug up.

While definitely longer than the usual picturebooks, I suppose it cannot be helped as the author tried to condense such a harrowing episode in history to highlight moments of kindness and generosity.

I especially appreciated the Authors’ Note found at the end of the narrative complete with actual photographs of Anton and the Jewish family he saved from the Nazis. This can be paired with the following picturebooks:

The Grand Mosque Of Paris by Karen Gray Ruelle and Deborah Durland DeSaix (see my review here).

Hidden by Loic Dauvillier, Marc Lizano, and Greg Salsedo (see my review here).

Hidden Child by Isaac Millman (see my review here).

#LitWorld2018GB Update: Poland

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