The Swallows Flight – BookBound Reviews

Helen’s Review

Erik and Hans, two German boys, Ruby and Kate two English girls, 

In a normal time they wouldn’t have anything to do with each other, but it’s not a normal time, there living through WW2.

On a September afternoon they all face chooses.

Who do the trust?

A story of friendship,  family,  danger, believing in yourself and birdwatching. 

This is such a moving story which highlights the impact of war, and what it can do to people.

Sam’s Review

When I read The Skylarks War in 2018 I never dared imagine that there would be the possibility of returning to the characters that I came to love through enjoying the book as much as I did, and to my delight this month has seen the publication of The Swallows Flight, allowing readers to do just that. Time has passed, and this sequel takes readers on a journey building up to World War Two, with children from both sides of the upcoming War telling their stories, fears of what is to come, and determination to survive.

Hans and Erik are best friends, living in the same apartment block in Germany, and when we first meet them it becomes acutely apparent how that the pair have a mutual love for animals, and a plan to seek employment at the nearby Zoo when they grow up. As their chapters in The Swallows Flight develop however they start to pick up on tensions in German society towards the Jewish community, something that they fail to understand, and discreetly voice anger and confusion about. The boys take up learning to fly gliders at a nearby airfield, encouraged by a relative, and have no idea that before long War will begin, and that the pair have the relevant skills to fly planes in their roles of service.

The Penrose Children are the other characters in the book, offspring to the much loved Penrose’s we became acquainted with in The Skylark’s War, with Kate being an often sickly child that offers an air of vulnerability to the family, and the other children almost the spitting image of the previous generation of Penrose’s – full of life, full of character, and relatable in so many ways. They are blissfully unaware of the War that will impact them all until rumours start to swirl in the air.

Telling of both sides of the War, in both the build up and once it has begun, from the perspectives of children makes this historical fiction that allows the latest generation of readers to apply the relevant empathy and understanding to a period of history that is as infamous as it was cruel. This two sided story isn’t one that portrays a victor from War, it is one that allows readers to embrace the similarities we have with one another instead of the differences, and does so through characters that they will likely relate to, emphasise with, and grow to love as they follow this story that has courageous and compassionate children at its core.

Having read this sequel I am honestly so excited to share it with fans of The Skylarks War just as much as I am those children that enjoy historical fiction. This should definitely be the title of choice for KS2 classes learning about WW2, and I will be advocating just that in the Primary School I work in, as well as at respective Librarian meetings too. The content is well researched, the characters are those that readers will take to their hearts, and their stories will be carried with them long after they have finished reading this book.

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