This is a picture book re-telling of the story of Anne Frank. The text aims to encourage young readers to identify with ‘an ordinary girl, someone you might sit next to in class’. The text and accompanying illustrations emphasise the normality of Anne’s early family life. However, the rise of Hitler is also central to the narrative, beginning on the second page of text, and the book’s educative function is evident in its explanation of the circumstances that enabled the rise of the Nazi party and the way in which Jewish people were blamed for prevailing conditions in Germany. The history of the war and the treatment of Jewish people is therefore related to, and interwoven with, the personal story of the Frank family. At the very end of the text there is a chronology listing historical events alongside the key events in the history of the family. The text is aimed at a younger age group than might normally encounter the diary of Anne Frank, and is intended as an introduction to her story. This might account for the fact that aspects of her story are sanitized. While the text refers to the ‘camps where people were imprisoned for no reason and forced to work’ and Anne’s death in a concentration camp is referred to, the full horrors of the concentration camps and the holocaust are not described. The fact that Anne recorded her ‘most private thoughts’ in her diary is noted, but the text does not enter into those private thoughts in any great detail. It does not include references to Anne’s maturation into adolescence, while her growing love for Peter is sentimentalized as innocent, fragile affection. Anne’s time in the annexe is covered in the final four pages of text, reflecting the focus on the gradual deterioration of ordinary family life rather than on the contents of Anne’s diary, most of which deals with her time in hiding. The evocative illustrations by award-winning illustrator Angela Barrett (1955-) are central to the text. Most of the double pages contain a large illustration with a section of text to one side. The images employ a realistic style and muted colours. Some of the images are shocking and haunting, in particular the final image of Anne being led away by SS officers. She is surrounded by three men and looks directly out at the reader, a look of suppressed fear in her eyes. It is through the images that Anne’s distress, fear and loneliness are most clearly expressed.
Josephine Poole. Illustrated by Angela Barrett.
Place of Publication:
Hutchinson, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books.
Date of Publication:
(36) p. ; ill.
Literature and Education
Anne Frank, Picture Book, History, Nazism, Jewish People, Anti-Semitism, World War II, Gender, Girls
General Catalogue (Children’s Literature) - TCD