Peter, Michael, Lovisa, and Helga love to play out in the snow, pummeling each other with snowballs and racing on their sleds. They aren’t heroes or great patriots. They’re just children who love Norway and would do anything to save her from the Nazis. But what can a bunch of children do? Quite a lot, as it turns out…
Nine million dollars worth of gold bullion is hidden in a cave near their city. The Nazi invasion of Norway has seriously hampered the effort to transport the gold safely out of the country because Nazi sentries search every adult who passes them. But there is just the chance that if several bars of bullion are loaded onto a child’s sled, and the child goes zipping down the hill on top of the sled and the bullion, the sentries won’t stop them. Maybe, just maybe…
But can the children keep up their act without behaving suspiciously or breaking down completely? And can Uncle Victor’s boat remain hidden until all of the gold is loaded onto it?
The preface to this book explains that the story is based on a legend which no one has been able to prove or refute. I would love to believe that it is true, mainly because it demonstrates several important character lesson, but also because it’s just such an epic plot – the severely hampered underdogs defeat the over-equipped tyrants.
So, yes – the character lessons.
First was the courage demonstrated by all of the children. Although they were powerfully outnumbered and equipped, the children accepted the risks involved in their mission and persevered in the face of them as they sought to preserve their freedom.
Secondly was the demonstration of leadership and the perpetration of caring relationships on the part of Peter. As the commander of the children, he seeks to be firm but kindly towards those under him. Also, after his father signs up as a soldier, Peter does his best to fill his father’s place and comfort his mother whenever she is discouraged.
Early on in the story, Peter, Michael, Helga, and Lovisa exhibit a “boys against girls” mentality, but this quickly changes when they must work together against the Nazis.
When first recruited for the sled teams, several of the children swear they will never tell the location of the gold. One adds this list of tortures they would withstand.
“I swear I’ll have my tongue pulled out. I’ll be tortured with a red-hot poker, and I’ll have my head on a pole before I’ll say a single word.” [pg. 39]
Trolls are referred to once. Someone refers to the cave where the gold is as “a regular Aladdin’s cave”. [pg. 27]
‘Gee’ is used twice.
Conclusion. Good. Your children will find this adventure thrilling!
Review © 2014 Laura Verret