Most of you will be familiar with Shirley Hughes because of her wonderful picture books including Dogger and the Alfie series.
After all these years, Hero on a Bicycle is her first novel for children.
The story is set in Florence at the end of WW2.
Paulo’s father is fighting with the Partisans but hasn’t been heard from for a long time.
The Germans are watching everyone closely as the Allied front draws closer and closer to Florence.
Paulo and his mother and sister are drawn into the war effort when they’re asked to hide Allied soldiers from the Germans.
Hughes has written an old-fashioned style story about the dangers of war, the everyday heroes, of fears and courage. Although the story has action and adventure, I fear the ‘grandmotherly’ writing style may put off many young modern readers.
Which is a shame, because this is a wonderful tale for mature 10+ readers.
In her first novel, beloved author Shirley Hughes presents a World War II adventure proving that in extraordinary circumstances, people are capable of extraordinary things.
Italy, 1944: Florence is occupied by Nazi forces. The Italian resistance movement has not given up hope, though — and neither have thirteen-year- old Paolo and his sister, Costanza. As their mother is pressured into harboring escaping POWs, Paolo and Costanza each find a part to play in opposing the German forces. Both are desperate to fight the occupation, but what can two siblings — with only a bicycle to help them — do against a whole army?
Middle-grade fans of history and adventure will be riveted by the action and the vividly evoked tension of World War II.