Award-winning writer Katrina Nannestad transports us to Russia and the Great Patriotic War and into the life of Sasha, a soldier at only six years of age…
It’s spring, 1942. The sky is blue, the air is warm and sweet with the scent of flowers. And then everything is gone. The flowers, the proud geese, the pretty wooden houses, the friendly neighbours. Only Sasha remains. But one small boy, alone in war-torn Russia, cannot survive. One small boy without a family cannot survive.
One small boy without his home cannot survive.
What that small boy needs is an army. From the award-winning author of We Are Wolves comes the story of a young boy who becomes a soldier at six, fighting the only way he can – with love. But is love enough when the world is at war?
Nannestad’s We Are Wolves was one of the best children’s novels of 2020. Now, she returns with Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief, a beautiful, heartfelt tale inspired by a true story of a child making their way through war-torn Russia. The book is beautifully imagined, with watercolour illustrations sprinkled throughout, perfect for middle-grade readers.
I recommend this novel for kids aged 10+, but it could also be read aloud to younger children. The short chapters make it easy to pick up and put down or binge in a couple of sittings. No matter how you want to read it, you’ll be hooked from page one. Nannestad has a knack for telling emotional and complex stories in an easy, digestible way that works perfectly for middle-grade readers.
Every character brings something new to the story, as we follow Sasha and his journey through the war. At the start of the book, everything is rough, tough, and full of grit. From the soldier’s boots to the explosive gunfire, everything is set in a harsh tone. However, as Sasha makes his way through Russia, the tone shifts to that of a more loving, hopeful story.
Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief is ultimately a story of a boy trying to reclaim hope and love in a time when such things were scarce. With an accessible story that’s perfect for kids interested in history, as well as gorgeous illustrations throughout, this is a perfect gift for the upcoming Christmas season.