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Kit Pearson.
Markham, ON: Penguin, 1989.
248pp., cloth, $16.95.
ISBN 0-67-0828-491. A Kestrel Book. CIP.

Grades 7-9 / Ages 12-14

Reviewed by Joan McGrath.

Volume 17 Number 6
1989 November

It is 1940. The "Phoney War" is over, and it is obvious that Britain will be a dangerous place while the Battle of England lasts, especially for the people of the coastal areas. Since it is anybody's guess how long the state of emergency will last, Norah and Gavin Stoakes's parents unwillingly decide to send their two youngest children abroad, to safety in Canada.

At five years of age, Gavin is too young to comprehend, but ten-and-a-half-year-old Norah is in despair at leaving parents and home and fears the unknown place and people to whom she is being entrusted for the immediate future.

"Home" is to be prosperous Rosedale in Toronto, with the chilly Ogilvies, "Aunt Florence" and her daughter "Aunt Mary"; and while cute little Gavin will be loved and welcomed, Norah is merely tolerated.

The difficult adjustments Norah must make in her new and unfamiliar setting are complicated by the traumatic separation from her distant family and increasingly from little Gavin. Her forbidden friendship with a picked-upon German-Canadian lad bearing the brunt of wartime paranoia among his classmates is also a heavy load for a child to bear; but Norah is stout-hearted and (mostly) optimistic, and better times lie ahead.

The Sky is Falling captures the atmosphere of Toronto of the Fighting Forties, and is a sympathetic picture of adversity bravely borne. Might make an interesting novel study comparison with Geoffrey Bilson's Hockeybat Harris ¹.

Joan McCrath, Toronto Board of Education, Toronto, ON.

¹ Reviewed voLXII/2 March 1985, p.61

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