Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Then" by Morris Gleitzman


You know that feeling you get when you've just finished reading a book by someone else, and you've just finished correcting the proofs of your own book, and you feel so impressed by the book you've just read that you wish you didn't have to return your proofs to the publisher, but could instead take the time to rewrite your own book, and to do it properly?

Well that's how I'm feeling right now, because I've just finished reading Then by Morris Gleitzman (Viking).

All right, without giving away the plot, I just want to mention a couple of things that impress me about this book.

1. It's so simple in style, but packs a huge wallop, which is all any of us as kids' writers can hope to do. And there is plenty of horror in this book, both of a physical and emotional nature, but it remains, for the mid-grade reader, such an accessible read. (Accessible - a word that gets used far too often in our industry, but in this case, it's so true.)

2. The way Morris uses the direct voice to the reader so cleverly. For example, on the first page is this masterpiece of writing for children:

You know how when you and two friends jump off a train that's going to a Nazi death camp and you nearly knock yourself unconscious but you manage not to and your glasses don't even get broken but your friend Chaya isn't so lucky and she gets killed so you bury her under some ferns and wild flowers which takes a lot of strength and you haven't got much energy left for running and climbing?

That's how it is now for me and Zelda.

That's why I haven't put my page-proofs in the mail yet.

34 comments:

LiteraryMinded said...

I've always been a Gleitzman fan. I met him when I was 9 with tattered copies of 'Sticky Beak' and 'Misery Guts' for him to sign. I hope I get time to read this. Thanks for the review!
LM

Mrs C said...

LM, it's well worth making the time to read it!

I am about half-way through reading "Then" to my grade 5/6 class. They are thrilled, appalled, excited and horrified but so engaged and interested that's it's a pleasure to read to them.

I love the use of direct voice in this novel - it really helps the kids to identify with Felix. And with Zelda; "Don't you know anything?"

Cheeze said...

Yeah, my teacher read us the Once book by Morris Gleitzman and my friend borrowed this Then book, and told me that it was the sequel.
Ireally wanted to read it because I really liked Once and it was really interesting, and I read Then in about 2 hours. :D

Cheeze said...

Dont you know anything :( Zelda <3

henris said...

i read then a few weeks ago and im doing a book review now but i forgot the characters names - not felix and zelda but the women, the dog and the pig, can anyone help?

james roy said...

The lady who helps them is called Genia. I can't remember the animals' names, sorry.

Anonymous said...

My Year 6 kids are loving this book at the moment and get so frustrated when i stop reading it. Morris has done a great job leaving the reader with anticipation and wanting to continue reading. I love Felix's courage and Zelda's stuborness. They both understand the true meaning of family. It is a very hard book to put down. Morris, one of the best childrens author ever!!
MR B!

Anonymous said...

its an awesome book !
its really interesting and i like how zelda always says "don't you know anything?"
thanks MR B for choosing this book :)

laylah ;D

Anonymous said...

Then is a book that you don't want to put down!
I love the parts where Zelda says "Don't you know anything?"
MR B has the best choice of books !
THANKS MR B !
I don't get how felix can stay so calm when Zelda is listening to Felix! I know that I wouldn't be able to handle HER!
arshpreet ;D

Anonymous said...

Our teacher is MR B and yes, he doesn't know how to spell stubbornness.
Haha, but the book is so awesome. and mr b is right.. it is soo frustrating when he tops on the most important part.

Good job Morris!


Brad and Joan

Anonymous said...

hey morris great work on the books then and once whats the next book

and mr B forgot how to spell stoubbern LOL






from Logan + mitchell ps great work

Anonymous said...

zelda is smart and funny but the nazis are coming for him half way in the book and this is the best book that Mr B has read to the class

BY JOSHUA

Anonymous said...

zelda is smart and funny but the nazis are coming for him half way in the book and this is the best book that Mr B has read to the class

BY JOSHUA

Anonymous said...

Morris has done a great job with Then the way he has left us asking for more at the end of every chapter is brilliant. My class screams at Mr B for more at every chapters end


Adam

Anonymous said...

Hi Morris our teacher Mr B always stops reading a chapter when it starts to get more interesting because you've made it stop in the good parts and we always beg him to read more chapters.

NICE JOB MORRIS KEEP THE BOOKS COMING!!!!!!!!!!

ZOE and BELINDA

Anonymous said...

this book has so many adventures mr b picked a great book to read zelda is a great kid and felix to love the book

kayla:)

Anonymous said...

My teacher Mr.B picked such a great book and it has so many good and exciting adventures and it was so fun and every time something exciting happens in the book Mr.B stops and makes us thrive to read more. I'm still wondering how you make these stories so exciting.
bell and Kayla........

Anonymous said...

This book is the best book. My favourite character is Zelda. I recomend this book to children over 7 and all adults.

JACOB #$#$

Anonymous said...

I LOVE THE BOOK 'THEN'
it's very interesting...
and is totally awsome;D
it's funny when Zelda says
''Don't you know anything?''

-Charlotte- ;D

Anonymous said...

Then is a really great book i recomend this book to children 8 and up. The class always gets frustrated when Mr B finishes reading a chapter because at the end of most chapters its gets really interesting.
Mr B you choose awesome books.
by Jerick =]

Anonymous said...

Whenever Mr B is putting the book down,
i just want to get to know what is
the next chapter... XD

i never knew that these children in the
book that has sent letters to Morris has experienced what Zelda and Felix has been through... :'(

But just to know that this is a very inspiring book to all
children and adults... ^^ THANX MR B! - chloe -

Anonymous said...

Whenever Mr B is putting the book down,
i just want to get to know what is
the next chapter... XD

i never knew that these children in the
book that has sent letters to Morris has experienced what Zelda and Felix has been through... :'(

But just to know that this is a very inspiring book to all
children and adults... ^^ THANX MR B! - chloe -

Anonymous said...

Morris is a great author and is always ends a chapter with suspense. when our teacher stops reading we sure do get frustrated and we love Felix's courage, and how annoying Zelda is... sort of like how annoying our teacher is. PS it is a great book just like Morris

Ronell :)

Anonymous said...

We are enjoying this book so far. Its lucky that Zelda and Felix get to stay safe some where for now but we all cant wait for more excitement.


Keep up with the good books Morris.....
It amazing how that Felix and Zelda has made it this far in the story.

By Dahcell and TYLER XD

Anonymous said...

Morris i love your books!!!
great work on then and once.
keep the great work up.
Morris,this is the first and second book that i am always interested to read and also worm story.

MR B thanks for choosing this two books to read for us.

Rico

Anonymous said...

Hey Morris we love ur book our teacher Mr B always reads it to us whenever he stops we all want to hear more. Then is really good and so is Once.


PS: Is there another book after Then???

Hussey

Anonymous said...

big fan of your books love them morris:);D

Anonymous said...

hey Morris i like the book then because you stop at the good parts. i really want to read the book now. keep it up.



Bradley

james roy said...

Hi everyone.

Sorry to disappoint those of you who think that you're on Morris' blog... You're not. I'm really happy to see you here, but you're not talking to Morris Gleitzman. Sorry.

James

Anonymous said...

Then, is such a good book,
i read i for english and our whole class loved it and thats a surprise. After i read "Then" i read the 1st one "Once" i ended up loving them both but thought 'then' was better. Im now writing a sort of review or assesment on 'then' any one got any good websites talking about details on thwe holacost or natzis? Morris Gleitzman is dardy!

Anonymous said...

Loved the books Then and Once Can not WAIT TO READ NOW!!!


P.S. The books made me cry!
P.P.S. Sorry James can not find another website...:)
P.P.P.S. The animals names are Trotski and Leopold.

Anonymous said...

I heart Morris Gleitzman. Our teacher read us the once book an dnow she is reading us Then. We ar eabout half way thrugh i and i think it is great.

the new author said...

Dear Morris,
I just finished reading once in class (year six) and i loved it.
i am writing a book myself and lots of teachers say i have a gift for story telling i would love to become an author one day and read then and now.
Watch out Morris i may overtake you nah just kidding,you are my role model and the reason i am writing my book.
Your devoted reader.
Noah.H
.

jess said...

my friend convinced me into reading 'once' and i absolutely loved it, im waiting for 'then' to arrive at the library but im soooooo excited to read it!!! im very interested in world war 2 and these books are so wonderfully written.