Henry and his parents move to a new town after the death of Eddie, Henry's older brother. Henry befriends an old man, Mr. Levine, who had survived the Holocaust. Mr Levine spends most of his time in an arts center recreating his lost family and town out of wood. Henry joins him there often, to escape the silence at home caused by grief over Eddie's death. Mr. Hairston, Henry's ill-mannered employer, offers Henry a gravestone for Eddie (which Henry most deeply wanted) in exchange for destroying Mr. Levine's award-winning wooden village.
This report prepared by Cassandra
Robert Cormier, celebrated writer of mordant books for "young adults" (_I Am the Cheese_, _The Chocolate War_) published this one late in his career. Not long after the Second World War, eleven-year-old Henry works at Mr. Hairston's grocery store and makes friends with a Holocaust survivor named Mr. Levine, who spends all his time building and whittling a replica of his childhood village. In exercising his considerable power over the boy and demanding an impossible task, Mr. Hairston confronts Henry with the nature of human evil. This compact story can be read in less than an hour, but packs a quiet wallop.
This report prepared by David Loftus