Nevil Shute Norway Foundation

Book Review

Pied Piper

A Book Report by Maggie Gluntz - Age 12

"Pied Piper" is about a seventy-something British man who, during World War II, decides to take a fishing trip to France. While he is there, the Nazis start to invade France and he is forced to evacuate. Before he does, though, a British couple who lives there asks him to take their children back to England with him. He agrees. Now he has a bit of a problem: he has no car, the train service is very irregular because of the invasion, and he has two young children to look after. After they have been traveling for a couple of days, one of the children, Sheila, gets a little bit of a fever, so they stop at a hotel until she gets better. While at the hotel they pick up another little girl, named Rose, whose aunt asks them to take Rose to her father in London.

As they travel through France to get to England they meet lots of different people, including Nicole, Howard's dead son's fiancee and pick up more children in bad circumstances to take to safety in England.

This book is called "Pied Piper" because as Howard goes along, picking up more children as he goes, he makes them little whistles, winning their trust so they'll follow him out of Europe to safety.

Main Character

The main character in this story is John Sidney Howard (he usually just goes by Howard or Mr. Howard.) Howard is in mourning. He never really says this outright, but you begin to realize this because of how he tells his story.

Then, at the beginning of March something happened that made a great change in his life. (p. 13)

"Madame, mon fils est mort. Il est tombe de son avion, au-dessus de Hilegoland Bight." (p. 20)

His son is dead, and the world is in a state of disaster. He wishes he could do something about the war, but old men can't do all that much in war, so he decides to go to France - scene of many happy times with his son - for a fishing trip as this story starts.

"While the snow lasted, the slopes were haunted for him. In his short walks along the road before the woodland paths became available, at each new slope of snow he thought to see John hurtling over the brow...Sometimes the fair-haired French girl, Nicole, who came from Chartres, seemed to be with him, flying along with him in the same flurry of snow. That was the most painful impression of all."

Howard has spent many years in France, so he is fluent in French and knows a lot about French culture. This becomes vitally important as Howard - and the many children in his care - make their way across enemy lines to get out of France.

The challenges and hardships Howard faces renew his will to live.

Conflict, Climax and Resolution

The Conflict : The main conflict in this book is the struggle Howard and the children in his care face to escape from France during the Nazi invasion. The constant challenges they face as territories keep changing hands keep this book exciting until the very last page.

The Climax : The climax of this story is when the children, Howard and Nicole are taken for questioning by the Nazis because they are suspected of being spies.

The Resolution : The resolution of this story is when the Nazi commander who holds them prisoner agrees to let them go back to England if they take his niece with them.

My Opinions

I really liked this book a lot. In fact, I think it is one of my favorite books now. I liked this book because it had excitement without being really gory, it wasn't really sad like a lot of war books are, and I thought that it was just a really great story.

I don't think I would really change anything in this book - it is perfect the way it is.

I would recommend this book to other people. Even if you don't like sad books or books about the war, I think you will like this book.