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I have a friend who called the IG story of my messy library desk “wholesome content.” My first reaction was to cringe because my job and contract with the Diocese paint me into a very safe, vanilla corner of the internet. It’s embarrassing to be so dull. Eventually, I accepted it for the compliment it was. The internet is full of loud, wannabe news aggregators and political pundits ready to assault you with their opinions. Good for them. My corner a bit like Mrs. Müller’s library in A Place to Hang the Moon.
Not much farther on, a small but solid stone building one a corner overlooking the square bore a sign announcing itself as the village lending library. Anna peered through the window even more hungrily than Edmund had at the sweet shop. She stood on her toes for a better view, making out a warren of shelves stretching from floor to ceiling, crammed with a comforting blur of books. Anna painted a picture of the spot in her mind’s eye and filed it away as a place of refuse. Should the need arise.A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus illustrated by Jane Newland
Summary of A Place to Hang the Moon
A Place to hang the Moon by Kate Albus is the story of William, Edmund, and Anna, three siblings who are part of the mass evacuation of children during World War II. Only, these siblings are not leaving behind caring parents. The children’s guardian, a wealthy but not-so-grandmotherly grandmother, has just died, and their nanny is elderly and ready to retire. William, Edmund, and Anna board the train and hope the family at the other end is one they can stay with forever.
A plan was destined to fail, of course. The only comfort the siblings find is in the pages of Mrs. Müller’s books at the lending library, a place they spend more and more time visiting. It’s a shame she has a mysterious German husband and is an entirely unsuitable choice of billet.
Stories set around the wartime evacuation of children aren’t new–think The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe–but lately, we seem to have our pick with books like The War that Saved My Life (middle grade) and The Children’s Train (adult). Orphan stories are easy to love, and A Place to Hang the Moon is no different. The book even poked fun at itself.
The librarian chuckled. “I suppose there are rather a lot of orphan stories out there.”A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON BY KATE ALBUS ILLUSTRATED BY JANE NEWLAND
“Why do grown-ups write so many of them?” William asked.
“I hadn’t really thought about it,” Mrs. Müller confessed. “Perhaps they think children fancy the notion of living on their own, without adults to tell them what to do. It’s quite daft, if you think about it, isn’t it?”
Yes, it is daft, but here we are buying every last one of them.
Review of A Place to Hang the Moon
Books like A Place to Hang the Moon don’t make it easy to pass them up. Having a librarian as a central character makes the many literary references an anticipated delight (Edmund’s personality is reminiscent of another famous Edmund). Still, the story isn’t at all dry or stuffy. There are many moments of wry observation.
It is often the case that, at times of great anxiety, when the diversion of a good story should seem most welcome, one is least equipped to focus one’s mind on reading.A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON BY KATE ALBUS ILLUSTRATED BY JANE NEWLAND
There are also plenty of moments of humor and wit.
“Besides which, I really ought to send her a book instead. Though she’s not much of a reader.” She paused. “Evidence as to her character.”A PLACE TO HANG THE MOON BY KATE ALBUS ILLUSTRATED BY JANE NEWLAND
Overall, A Place to Hang the Moon is one of those charming books for everyone (children, educators, and parents). There is even a recommended book list at the end from William, Edmund, and Anna. I very much enjoyed Albus’s writing style, particularly her use of figurative language. My only quibble was the lack of diversity among the characters.
Details for Parents and Educators
ATOS Book Level: 5.0
Interest Level: Middle Grades (MG 4-8)
AR Points: 9.0
Word Count: 62623
Topic – Subtopic: Countries/Regions-Great Britain; Historical Fiction-Historical Fiction (All); History-World War II Era; People-Siblings; People-Orphans;