Cover image for Boxes for Katje
Title:
Boxes for Katje
Author:
Fleming, Candace.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Summary:
After a young Dutch girl writes to her new American friend in thanks for the care package sent after World War II, she begins to receive increasingly larger boxes.
General Note:
"Melanie Kroupa Books."
Language:
English
Reading Level:
460 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.5 0.5 70391.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.3 2 Quiz: 34121 Guided reading level: M.
Electronic Access:
Publisher description http://www.loc.gov/catdir/description/hol031/2002020027.html
ISBN:
9780374309220
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Simple seeds of friendship grow into something extraordinary

After World War II there is little left in Katje's town of Olst in Holland. Her family, like most Dutch families, must patch their old worn clothing and go without everyday things like soap and milk. Then one spring morning when the tulips bloom "thick and bright," Postman Kleinhoonte pedals his bicycle down Katje's street to deliver a mysterious box - a box from America! Full of soap, socks, and chocolate, the box has been sent by Rosie, an American girl from Mayfield, Indiana. Her package is part of a goodwill effort to help the people of Europe. What's inside so delights Katje that she sends off a letter of thanks - beginning an exchange that swells with so many surprises that the girls, as well as their townspeople, will never be the same.

This inspiring story, with strikingly original art, is based on the author's mother's childhood and will show young readers that they, too, can make a difference.

Boxes for Katje is a 2004 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.


Author Notes

Candace Fleming is the author of Gabriella's Song. She lives in Mount Prospect, Illinois.

Stacey Dressen-McQueen lives in Portland, Oregon. Boxes for Katje is her first book.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

K-Gr. 3. In May 1945, a Dutch girl namedatje is thrilled to receive a letter and a package of socks, soap, and chocolate from Rosie, a girl she doesn't know who lives in Mayfield, Indiana. The kids start to exchange letters, and when Rosie's family members learn of Holland's severe post-war deprivations, they enlist Mayfield residents to send food and clothes toatje, who generously shares the gifts with others in her community. The sense of suffering isn't strong here, in part because the Dutch townspeople are almost always depicted as smiling about the packages. But the story is still moving, and Dressen-McQueen's lively illustrations, in colored pencil, oil pastel, and acrylic, pack lots of color, pattern, and historical details onto every expansive page. Fleming based the book on her mother's experience, which she describes in an author's note; in the real-life story, however, adults, not children, orchestrated the events, a finding that may be a little disappointing to kids who took the book, with its specific dates, town names, and heroic, generous children, as straight fact. --Kathleen Odean Copyright 2003 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Inspired by actual events, Fleming's (Ben Franklin's Almanac, reviewed below) engaging story of post-WWII Holland serves as a potent-and merry-lesson in generosity. The residents of war-ravaged Olst "patched and repatched their worn-thin clothing, and they went without soap or milk, sugar or new shoes." Through the Children's Aid Society, an American child, Rosie, sends a box of provisions to Katje, a windfall the girl gladly shares with the postman and her mother. Her thank-you note inspires a larger package, which she aportions to her neighbors, and so on, until sleds of provisions from Rosie's town arrive for all the residents of Olst. Fleming deftly dramatizes the story with lively conversations among the townspeople and letters between the two girls. In an outstanding debut, Dressen-McQueen immerses readers in post-war Holland, crafting an entirely credible world of cobblestone streets, Dutch architecture and vintage clothing. Primitive in its flattened perspectives, these earth-toned illustrations (which progressively brighten as the situation does) resonate with joy and fellowship. The girls' letters and small, painted "snapshots" of Rosie's world drop into full-bleed panoramas of Katje's town. That is, until the story's end, when the residents of Olst return a gift to Rosie, whose jubilant receipt of the package fills the spread. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-In this story based on true events, Katje lives in a Dutch town devastated by World War II. When Rosie from Indiana sends a goodwill package through the Children's Aid Society, Katje and her neighbors regain hope. Gently effective illustrations evoke a sense of time and place and the girls' long-distance friendship. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.