Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit: Judith Kerr, February 7—9, 2016
My rating: ♦♦♦◊◊
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit is actually set before WWII, in the period between Hitler winning power in Germany but prior to the conflict. It follows nine-year-old Anna and her family fleeing the risk of persecution in Germany and adjusting to life in a new country.
The looming war is very much a background to the book. It is really a story about a family dealing with change and flux; and about identity and belonging.
The characters are all likeable but none of them hugely memorable. You don’t so much root for Anna as have nothing against her. There is very little character development; everything is transitional so there’s no clear direction for progression.
While the denouement makes an attempt at closure, Kerr makes it hard for herself. A story so vague has no particular end point, and despite her efforts it’s essentially just a full stop when she’s had enough of telling it. Though Rabbit covers a period of several years, it stops short of the War; Anna’s trauma is far from over, so an uplifting conclusion feels phony.
Although aimless, Rabbit is a warm tale of resilience and family. Against the backdrop of the worst humanity can do, it celebrates some of the strongest bonds we’re capable of. Despite its shortcomings, Rabbit is enjoyable and affirming, and relatively absorbing.