Saturday, April 5, 2008

Module 6 Historical Fiction: Willow Run

Willow Run
Giff, Patricia Reilly. 2005. Willow Run. New York: Wendy Lamb Books.

In her follow-up to Lily’s Crossing, Newbery Award winning author, Patricia Reilly Giff continues the tale of eleven year old Meggie Dillon as she moves from her beloved Rockaway, New York home to Willow Run, Michigan where her father has taken a job in a manufacturing plant building B-24 Bomber planes during World War II. Meggie is a solid character, adept, caring, independent, resourceful, with a strong sense of integrity. Even though she and her friends repeatedly steal from the ice cream vendor because they think he is a spy, she feels a great deal of guilt and eventually repays him with a gift greater than money. Patricia Reilly Giff creates a moving account of life on the home front complete with all its sacrifices, suspicions, fears, and hopes. Meggie must face prejudice when some thugs paint a swastika on the window of her adored, German born Grandfather’s house. She bravely chases them away, cleans up the mess and tries to keep the incident from her family. She helps the ice cream vendor, who turns out not to be a spy, but an apprehensive teenager who must face his civic duty to fight for his country, come to terms with his decision and secretly invites her Grandfather to come and keep up his garden while he is gone. Giff expertly reflects the tone of the times in the heartbreaking anxiety felt by the supportive families of the soldiers serving overseas when her brother, Eddie, is reported missing in action after storming the beaches at Normandy, France on D-Day. Many pop culture icons keep this story true to the times with references to Spam, movie reels and Meggie and her Grandfather’s chronic addiction to contest entry forms, one of which they eventually win. Patricia Reilly Giff’s tale of life in the World War II era is a satisfying read that will leave you inspired and uplifted.

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