Read Once by Morris Gleitzman Online


Narrated by the author.Moving, thought-provoking and wryly humorous.A story of friendship, belonging and survival from the bestselling author of Girl Underground, Boy Overboard and Worm Story.Felix lives in a convent orphanage in Poland. He is convinced his parents are still alive and that they will one day come back to get him. When Nazi soldiers come to the orphanage FelNarrated by the author.Moving, thought-provoking and wryly humorous.A story of friendship, belonging and survival from the bestselling author of Girl Underground, Boy Overboard and Worm Story.Felix lives in a convent orphanage in Poland. He is convinced his parents are still alive and that they will one day come back to get him. When Nazi soldiers come to the orphanage Felix decides to escape and make his way home.The journey to find his parents is a long and difficult one, as Poland is occupied by the Nazis and a dangerous place for a Jewish boy. Felix manages to live and look after himself and another orphan, Zelda, with the help of a kind dentist, Barney, who is hiding and looking after a number of Jewish children. When the Nazis discover them, Barney makes the ultimate sacrifice for the children - electing to go with them on the train to the death camps, rather than taking the option of freedom offered by a Nazi soldier, one of his grateful patients....

Title : Once
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781740949026
Format Type : Audiobook
Number of Pages : 494 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Once Reviews

  • Lyndsey
    2019-03-17 12:45

    When I was young 'un, we had this storytelling board game in our house. If memory serves me right, it was called, simply, "Once..."The basis of the game was to create a story from a card prompt and people had to guess whether it was true or not - or something like that anyway.As many things do, at first this game went over my head a bit. *swoosh* Because in my everyday life, whenever I would try to make up a story (or more accurately - what you might call a white lie) to my friends or family, they always seemed to know right away. At least my mom, who I had convinced myself was secretly a CIA agent, always knew.But I eventually figured out that when it is turned into a game, this "storytelling" phenomenon can actually be quite fun, because apparently if you are being upfront about this thing called "fiction" being "not real", then it is perfectly acceptable and not something you have to be nervous about. Around that time, I started to get very good at it.So anyway, I played this game with my friends, and at one point, I told a gruesome story about how, just the previous week, I had seen a cat torture and kill a baby bird, basically skinning it alive. A fairly traumatic thing for a young girl to witness. Of course, everyone assumed that I had actually seen it happen, because what kid could just make something like that up? Well apparently, a kid with a sick mind. I had made it up.With an incredibly active and visual imagination, not to mention, a little bit of craziness thrown in for good measure, I had actually seen this scene happen solely in my mind's eye. So, I didn't technically just make up the story on the fly; rather, as a result seeing a smushed dead baby bird lying on the street, my mind went on to imagine how this might have happened. Thus, I received the previously stated disturbing mental image.I am about 99.98646362728% certain that most people's minds don't work this way. I think maybe you need to be at least a little bit of a paranoid schizophrenic to be a storyteller. At least, that's how I explain my strange mental processes to myself.________________________________This book, entitled Once, is about a young Jewish boy, named Felix, living and suffering through the horrid times of the Holocaust. He has been hidden away in an orphanage and has convinced himself that his parents are still around and just waiting for the right moment to come and get him. When they don't show up after three years, Felix sets out to find them and meets new friends and new trouble.The little boy loves to tell stories and does so throughout almost the entire book. He isn't what you might think of as an "unreliable narrator", however. He is always upfront with the reader, so though he may tell "stories" to the other characters, he never does with us. A true unreliable narrator is more like what you would find in the Fight Club, where the reader isn't given all the necessary information and much is withheld.The things that happen to and around Felix in this book are terrifyingly unbelievable. It is easy to tell yourself that things like this could never happen. But they have. They are. They will.The prose is simple and heart-wrenching. The writing is in no way strenuous, but the story is. Worry and heartache will easily overcome you in this book. It should be difficult to believe that human beings are capable of such atrocities but somehow, it isn't that difficult to imagine.We should be able to look at a book like this and say "No one would ever be capable of doing that." But we can't.Overall, this was an excellent story about a young boy suffering through a horrible time in history. It certainly pulls at your heart strings, but I wouldn't quite call it life changing. This book comes off more like a deeply and darkly intense fable.The books is a short 163 pages, and the final chapter leaves it somewhat open-ended. Just enough so, that it you leaves you asking questions but still gives you a bit of closure. Happy-endings are not readily available within Holocaust fiction, unfortunately.This is kind of book that resonates. It stays with you and keeps your mind working long after you have finished.If you are interested, the hardcover is currently the cheapest way to obtain this book at just under 7 dollars on Amazon. The Kindle edition is very pricey at 10 dollars, especially for such a short book.The thing I loved most about this book is that throughout most of it, Felix has an uplifting and optimistic personality. It was so entertaining as well as endearing to hear his thoughts and views on the world. He is an amazing character and a new favorite of mine. His viewpoint reminded me ever so slightly of the main character in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, in the way that he notices things and sees things in a manner that most would not.At one point in the book, Felix sees Nazis burning Jewish books, so he becomes convinced that the Nazis are doing all of this because the Nazis hate the Jews' books and not just them. So in order to make sense of it all, he tells himself a story about how in a book warehouse in another country, one day a bunch of Jewish books fell on top of someone's kids and crushed them. So these people vowed to take revenge on the books and anyone who owns them.It is truly remarkable the creations that a mind can invent to explain that which it does not know.__________________________________On another note, I have searched high and low on the Internet for another edition of the "Once..." game that I played as a kid and have been entirely unsucessful in finding it.I'm beginning to think that maybe my CIA agent mother had a single copy designed and produced in order to help cultivate my imagination. See, now that doesn't sound at ALL unreasonable to me. But that's just how I roll...

  • Marjorie Ingall
    2019-03-12 10:26

    I did not want to like Once. I hated that cover line: “Everybody deserves to have something good in their life. At least once.” Damn it, “anyone” does not agree with “their”! Even if I am the last person fighting this battle I will continue to fight it! GAH! But um, more importantly, Once sounded to me like a rehash of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a book I loathed. Children (and adults) do not need faux-naif, manipulative, emotionally inauthentic Holocaust books. I’d thought Once was about an equally clueless protagonist. I was wrong. Felix, a Jewish boy in Poland in 1942, isn’t an idiot. He’s in denial. There's a difference. And as the book goes on and the horrors mount, Felix’s denial evaporates. Storytelling has been his shield and survival strategy. As he loses that ability to tell himself truth-deflecting stories, you feel sick. The pacing of this book is incredible – Gleitzman is known in his native Australia for writing funny, goofy contemporary children’s books – and the book’s short paragraphs and use of humor (no, really) will make it super-enticing to boys and non-book-lovers. But be forewarned, the Nazis’ brutality is explicit and disgusting; this should not be any child’s first Holocaust novel. (Start with Number the Stars instead.) Once, which is influenced by the story of Janusz Korczak, offers no false hope.

  • Sally906
    2019-03-05 11:40

    What a wonderful story - Felix is a young Jewish boy in WWII Poland sets off from an orphanage to find his missing parents. He thinks Nazi's are book burners and his parents have gone off somewhere to hide the books in their store. They have been gone over 3 years.As he travels he sees horrendous events but in his innocence he is not realising what he is seeing. He saves a younger girl called Zelda and in turn they are saved.Gradually as the story progresses Felix's innocence falls away and reality sets in. Very much recommended.

  • Siobhan
    2019-03-06 12:40

    I remember reading this book as a child still in primary school. It was a project and I was the only child in the class who fully understood what the child in the story was talking about. The burning books, the angry men in uniforms, the train, the carriages, the fear... What he was experiencing. No one else knew what it was that was so scary and terrifying about this story, except me. I guess that makes it worse in the long run.I think that's why this story has stuck with me into my adulthood. I remember sitting in the library and our classroom and our teacher would read to us, or we would read aloud to each other. I remember it so vividly and sometimes I believe I can go back to that place, in that beanbag or chair and just relive those stories with my teachers because they didn't shy away from the confronting issues. Together, though we were children, we faced them head on.That's why this books was one of my favourites. The sheer scale and the terror, but also the hope. Because even in the darkest night there is still a shimmer of light.

  • Hilary
    2019-02-17 14:24

    Finding this book in the childrens section of the library, I took it out for my daughter to read. Having glanced at some reviews I thought I would look at it first to see if it were suitable for an 11 yr old. When I had read a few lines I continued to read the whole book as it was such a compelling story. It was very harrowing and it would not be suitable for younger or sensitive readers. This story about an orphanage during world war 2 has a wonderful main character. Felix is Jewish and living in an orphanage, he runs away to find his parents, he refuses to accept they might not be alive. He invents stories which keep the horrible reality of what's happening around them at arms length. He is wonderfully optimistic and has a lovely personality. I found him very engaging and funny. A really well written book, very sad but also it feels like there is hope for Felix, and if anyone can escape or survive it will be him. Going to see if the library has the next book in the series.

  • Dora Santos Marques
    2019-02-25 17:31

    A minha opinião em vídeo: livro amoroso, que coisa tão, tão boa! Porque é que só o descobri agora?Quem gosta de história do Holocausto, gostará deste livro de certeza.A imaginação e ingenuidade do Felix deixa-nos de sorriso nos lábios perante tempos tão maus.Vale mesmo a pena!

  • PorshaJo
    2019-03-11 18:21

    What can you say about a book with a small child living through the Holocaust. The story focuses on Felix, a small 10 year old Jewish boy, who is living in an orphanage. His parents put him in this place a little over three years ago for safety. So he isn't exactly an orphan. Felix is very naive and believes the Nazi's are burning books because they don't like books and sets off to find his parents and save all the books in his parents book store. I was a bit shocked initially how naive he is but children were quite different long time ago compared to today. Felix doesn't stay too naive for long after the horrors he endures and witnesses. Its heartbreaking to see Felix realize what is going on around him and what the Nazis are really after.It's not an easy read in terms of the subject matter. However, the author does a great job capturing the story for young children. It is a very short book but the first in a series of following Felix and his friends. I plan to read the remaining in the series, but taking a break in between for a bit of light reading.

  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    2019-03-13 15:43

    Now, I would have classed this short book as J rather than YA had there not been some horrifying scenes in it. The narrator, Felix, is a young Jewish boy who has been living in an orphanage in 1942 Poland, where his parents left him and from which he expects them to fetch him some day. What makes this such a chilling and hard-to-put-down book is Felix's naive and innocent view of the horrific events around him. It reminded me of John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pajamas in that respect. As the reader, I understood the true significance of events he was seeing and misinterpreting, and at every chapter I kept expecting his naivete to get him killed or captured by the Nazis. Fortunately, Felix slowly begins to understand the true nature of events around him, yet he continues to cling to the idea that his parents are alive. This book had me literally tense with suspense. I wanted to put it down to relieve the tension, but I just had to read on. The story ended abruptly, begging for the sequel I know has been written and which I absolutely must read. This is a truly scary story, not for the faint of heart. Recommended for teens and adults.

  • Lisa Vegan
    2019-03-19 15:35

    This is an all in one sitting type of read, and I did read it all in one day. It’s told from the point of view of a 9-10 year old Jewish boy, a storyteller, who’s caught up in the Holocaust. This story is powerful, compelling, and so very sad, yet somehow uplifting too, and even amusing every once in a while. I’ll be thinking quite a bit about Felix, Zelda, Barney, and some other characters. Felix is a fine narrator and everyone and everything come across very vividly. The author’s note at the end is wonderful. My favorite line in it is “This story is my imagination trying to grasp the unimaginable.” I’m off to check out his website: This book is book 1 of a trilogy and I’ve already reserved book 2 at the library. This book is in the children’s section of my library, but I’d say it’s best for older children, teens, and adults because it doesn’t at all shy away from the atrocities, and even though Felix starts off innocent and ignorant, he’s certainly not able to stay that way. There is one twist in the plot about one of the characters that I didn’t see coming, and that I thought was brilliant to include. Highly recommended, but not for kids who don’t already know about the Holocaust.

  • Paloma
    2019-03-18 18:45

    This is one of my favorite books; I read this in grade 4 and I found it absolutely sad but amazing at the same time. I re-read it in grade 5 and still loved it but the second time I read it, I looked deeper into details, because I already knew what was going to happen, so I payed attention to all of the magnificent details Morris Gleitzman added to the story. I strongly recommend anyone reading this, it's a great book and I hope you enjoy it :)

  • Cameron Cross
    2019-03-06 14:24

    Rating this book was extremely difficult as it was tricky to detach my views on the writing itself from the topic being written about. Ultimately five stars felt fair as the story was expertly (as most Morris G stories are) told with all of the due respect and clarity it deserves and if that was not enough, introducing me to the realities of that era was. The first book in the Felix and Zelda series is extremely short and normally that would be a deterrent for me, but the intensity of the events in this story (considering it is quite fast paced) does facilitate the need for it to be kept short. It was emotionally draining for the most part.One thing I noticed that was done very well was that most stories with a small child as the protagonist will still seem as though they are being told by an adult, but Once perfectly captures what experiencing the events of WW2 through a child eyes would be like (I can only imagine). Felix is consistently naive and while that did frustrate me at times, it felt completely genuine and culminated in more emotional scenes. In conclusion this book was jarringly and shatteringly sobering as to events that really did take place during the time of Nazi occupation. This book left me with a melancholy that no other book (no matter how sad) has managed, simply because although this was fictional in some aspects, it was also very real with no exaggeration. Things that happened in this story really happened and as I read, it hit me in a way it never has before. I've always known this stuff happened, but Once really drove it home. It breaks my heart but I am more than thankful for the experience, I WILL be continuing but maybe after a light hearted read first hahaha.Sorry to ramble.

  • Libros Prestados
    2019-02-22 10:19

    Hay libros con los que empiezas con mal pie. Esta historia comienza con Felix, un niño de unos 9 años que espera a sus padres escondido en un orfanato de monjas en la Polonia ocupada de 1942. 1942. Tres años de ocupación Nazi. Y en un momento dado, Felix se extraña de que los hombres que han entrado al orfanato sean nazis, porque la palabra parece nueva para él. A ver, no. Ni de broma. Un niño que ha vivido tres años de ocupación no puede no haber oído nunca la palabra. Un niño que ya lleva tres años en una Polonia llena de nazis no puede ignorar que Adolf Hitler sea su jefe. Los niños no son tan estúpidos. Si tuviera 5 años hasta me lo creo, pero a la edad que tiene él ya no.Pero no puedo realmente echarle esto en cara al libro, como tampoco alguna que otra incongruencia histórica, porque este libro no es para adultos, está escrito para lectores jóvenes. Tiene que explicarlo de forma que esos chavales que ni saben lo que es un nazi puedan entender la trama. En ese sentido es disculpable.Y luego mejora, cuando Felix se va cayendo del guindo. Algunas cosas chirrían, pero él al menos deja de parecer tan tonto. Y como libro para jóvenes me parece que está muy bien, no huyendo de las cosas desagradables y explicándolas al lector de forma clara y sin maquillar lo que ocurre.¿He leído cosas mejores? Sí. ¿Tiene fallos? Sí. Pero es más bien cosa mía, porque no creo que sea el tipo de lector al que el libro está dirigido.

  • Claire (Book Blog Bird)
    2019-03-13 17:26

    Everybody deserves to have something good in their life. At least Once.Once is the heartbreaking, harrowing but ultimately hope-filled story of Felix, a ten year old Polish Jewish boy living through the Nazi occupation of Poland and the Holocaust. He lives in an orphanage in the Polish mountains - his parents, who are booksellers, left him there when they went off to solve all sorts of book-related emergencies (according to Felix).Life in the orphanage sounds pretty sad and desperate - the conditions are pretty basic, there's notmuch food and thenunsare pretty strict - but very gradually you learn the truth - that the nuns doing all they can to keep the Nazis away from the orphanage so keep the children (including a number of Jewish children) safe.Gradually, Felix comes to realise the truth about the Holocaust and the Nazis and what is happening to the Jews in Poland (spoiler alert: nothing nice). We're shown some of the atrocities of the Holocaust through the eyes of a ten year old child which somehow makes them all the more horrifying.One of the most heartbreaking things I found about the story (apart from the whole Holocaust thing, which obviously gets top spot) is the way Felix makes up stories in his head as a way of trying to explain away the awful things that are happening around him. It's just so sad. And his horror and bravery when he realises what's going on - you really forget that this is just a little kid.Even though there have been a lot of stories written about the Holocaust, this book ought to be required reading. It was one of the biggest (if not the biggest) atrocities of the twentieth century and I don't think it's the kind of subject that will ever be 'done with'. And that's the whole point. As long as we keep reminding ourselves about what happened, then maybe we stand a chance of not repeating our mistakes.

  • Alex Baugh
    2019-02-25 17:25

    Once I read a story about a 10 year old Jewish boy named Felix who lived in Poland in 1942 and I felt a terrible sadness as I read.Once is very poignantly narrated by Felix. He tells the reader that he had been placed in a Catholic orphanage by his parents, booksellers in Poland, and has lived there for three years. He also tells the reader that he likes to make up stories and is considered by others to be quite good at it. Felix always carries a notebook in which he writes down his stories and hides it inside his shirt for safekeeping. Once he found a whole carrot in his soup and told himself that it was a sign that his Mum and Dad were coming back to get him. But they never show up. When Nazis suddenly show up at the orphanage to burn the books in the library, Felix remembers the time they destroyed the books in his parent’s bookshop and reasons with himself that the Nazis are only after books. He decides to leave the orphanage and find his Mum and Dad, to warn them that their books are in danger. As Felix goes along looking for his parents, he starts to tell himself stories about what he sees. For example, a few days after he begins his journey, Felix comes across an empty house, with the kitchen stove still burning and half eaten meals on the table. He tells himself a story about the people who live there and why they have left so suddenly: In the distance I hear faint gunshots. Of course. That explains it. They’re out hunting. They must have seen some rabbits, grabbed their guns and gone after them in a big hurry. (pg33)The reader of course knows why the house is empty and what the gunshots are even if Felix doesn’t. Felix is a clever boy who not only creates his own stories, he also uses the knowledge he has acquired from other stories he is familiar with. As his search for his Mum and Dad takes Felix towards an unnamed city, he sees a house on fire and the bloody owners lying outside on the ground. Not sure if they are dead or alive, he picks up a feather and holds it in front of their noses: “It is how you tell if people are dead. I read it in a book once.” (pg.55) This is also the house where he finds six year old Zelda and the place where a very scary suspicion of reality begins to occur to Felix:A little kid. What sort of people would kill a little kid just for the sake of some books? A horrible thought grows in my throbbing head. What if us Jews aren’t being bullied just because of books? What if it’s because of something else? (pg 56)Felix continues his journey now accompanied by the traumatized Zelda, to whom he continuously tells stories. As they continue on towards the unnamed city, they run into a large group of weary men, women and children walking along the road, all wearing armbands with Jewish stars, and being escorted by Nazi soldiers. At first, Felix thinks they are all Jewish book owners. Forced by the Nazis to join the group, another bit of reality scarily intrudes into Felix’s thoughts after asking one of the men if he is a book lover, then wishes he hadn’t: Not just because I’ve made a suffering Jewish man feel upset at the sight of a crazy kid. Also because I’ve got a horrible suspicion I know the answer to the question.Maybe it’s not just our books the Nazis hate. Maybe it’s us.When Felix and Zelda finally arrive in the city, they are taken into hiding by a dentist who is already taking care of several other children whose parents have been put on transport trains. The dentist, Barney, is a character modeled after a man who actually did take care of Jewish orphans. Janusz Korczak was a Jewish children’s doctor and well known author. When the Nazis rounded up the orphans he was caring for to transport them to Treblinka, they offer Korczak sanctuary. He refused to leave the children, choosing instead to go to his death with them. In his Afterword to Once, Gleitzman explains that Korczak became his hero after reading about him. Once is the story Felix tells us about his life as a child in this particular time and place in the history of the Holocaust. His journey to find his Mum and Dad also turns out to be Felix’s journey from innocence to realization about the situation of Jews under the Nazis. The book is geared for readers aged 11 and up and I would highly recommend it for that age group. Younger readers, even those who have high reading levels, may still find it too disturbing.

  • Ruth
    2019-03-03 15:38

    Felix's naivety is almost unbelievable at times. But then you think of the trauma a kid must go through, and how he was VERY misinformed by his parents- add that up with the number of deaths he sees, and you can sorta understand what the author was getting at. So here are some things I've learned from reading Holocaust books:1. Being a Jew must suck. They got chased out of Israel by the Romans, which was when the fled to Europe, which was where many perished at the hands of the Nazis, which was why they fled BACK to Israel, which was why the Palestinians are so pissed (because the Jews took THEIR land of course) which is why there were like a billion wars that followed (Six Day War, Arab-Israeli War, Yom Kippur War, etc.) Which is why now the Jews have their own country that is the only Jewish country in the entire world that is completely surrounded by Arab nations laden with Palestinian refugees who all want Israel dead. So yeah, you would probably suffer more if you were a Jew.2. Being German must suck. They probably still get mouthfuls of soap for what they did during WW23. No matter what the story, every Holocaust book has death, pain, anguish, suffering, death, pain, anguish, and suffering. Which, if you think about it, is pretty good. No stuff is glossed over and you KNOW that it's happened. Which makes the story even more depressing, since it's based during an actual event in history instead of, say, the trolls fighting the fairies over who gets the unicorn.So, yes I WAS depressed after reading Once, because of all of the above, but it was actually a pretty neat story. I finished it in maybe an hour so it definitely is a pretty quick read. Believe it or not, one of my favorite type of books are the Holocaust type. Anytime you need a slice of reality, just pick up the Boy in the Striped Pj's, or the Diary of Anne Frank.

  • Elilith
    2019-03-02 11:37

    Una vez nos cuenta la historia de Félix, un niño Judío cuyos padres eran propietarios de una librería en Polonia y que tras la invasión alemana, sus padres llevaron a un orfanato de monjas para hacerlo pasar por católico y salvarlo de su destino en los campos de concentración. No obstante Félix tiene una desbordante imaginación y se niega a creer en la posibilidad de que sus padres han muerto, está convencido de que le envian señales secretas y además cree que los alemanes odian a los judíos por los libros. Con solo ocho años, vivimos el Holocausto naci desde los ojos de un niño inocente que no entiende cómo los hombres pueden ser tan crueles. La historia de Félix se complica cuando al creer que ha recibido una zanahoria (un regalo en aquella época) por parte de sus padres decide escaparse del orfanato e ir en su busca, recuperar sus libros y huir a un lugar mejor y más seguro. En el descenso desde las montañas hasta la ciudad va descubriendo qué pasa realmente en su país, ve gente asesinada, animales muertos y poco a poco se horroriza más y va perdiendo la inocencia. En su camino Félix se encuentra con Zelda, una pequeña niña de cinco años en estado de Shock y tendida al lado de sus padres muertos. Félix se la lleva con él y empieza a contarle historias para que deje de pensar en lo que le acaba de pasar. Una vez es un libro desgarrador sobre la segunda guerra mundial. He leído unos cinco o seis libros con esta temática y creo que éste es el que más me ha hecho sufrir, es tanta la inocencia del niño que no puedes dejar de imaginar la crueldad de esa época y el drama y sufrimiento que miles de niños, bebés y familias pasaron solo por tener una religión diferente. Es un disparate. La narración es perfecta, el mensaje sublime y la historia desgarradora. Sin duda un libro único sobre la segunda guerra mundial y que nunca olvidarás tras leerlo.

  • Richelle
    2019-02-17 15:42

    This book has surprised me!  I had to search more about Once and the author.  I found it was only written in 2005.  I would have thought it was written much earlier by the content.  It was written by Morris Gleitzman, an Austrailian.  This also left me a little amazed, as it felt like it was written by someone who had experienced at least some of the content.  Morris Gleitzman's research has shone from the pages of this little treasure.  If you want to find out more about Morris Gleeitzman's researched readings, his life, and/or his writing of this novel, and the others that make up this series, then journey to the Once (Morris Gleitzman Novel) Wiki page. There were parts of this book that left me open mouthed considering it is a childrens book.  But... it is so brilliantly written, from the perspective of Felix, a ten year old boy, that I think it is a wonderful resource for middle schoolers, especially boys.  I actually had this book packed away in a box!  Can you believe it?  What a waste of a good novel.  I dragged it out and thought I would read it.  I should have done so long ago.  My son is now opening the pages and I am sure, without a doubt, he will swallow every word.  He has watched and read many movies and resources on the history of the past wars.  This book puts it into the perspective of a boy, rather than an adult.  If you like your children reading 'living books', and you have a middle grader, then take a look at this one.  You may want to read it yourself first as there are a few parts that surprised me, but the author has written this in such a way that it moved past these incidents and I followed the boy's journey rather than the happenings around him.

  • Jackie
    2019-03-14 17:36

    I came across this one through YA Sync’s free audio summer program. Generally, I’m not into war stories, particularly those written from a child’s perspective. I just don’t have a good track record with them. I’ve read Milkweed and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, both of which are similar to Once. In both books, I wanted to slap the narrators for their naivety of their situations. Since this one was free and the audio was only 3 hours I decided to give it a try.The story is told from Felix’s perspective, a young Jewish boy, who was left by his parents in a Catholic orphanage. His parents were booksellers, which explains Felix’s love of books and storytelling. Because Felix likes to tell stories he is not the most reliable narrator. Many times he makes up stories to explain away the horrors he encounters or to simply make himself feel better. While, I did sometimes want to slap Felix for his naivety I did give him a pass because of his bookish background. Actually, I think that is why Once’s narration worked for me better than the other two books did. I ended up liking Felix quite a bit. I found myself sympathizing with him and wanting to protect him. Of course war is horrific, but reading it from the perspective of a child seems to be more heart wrenching. I thought the plot and perspective were well done and at no point did I feel emotionally manipulated. Apart from Felix there are a few other characters important to the story, like Zelda and Barney. Zelda reminded me of Ygritte from “A Games of Thrones” series with her constant “Don’t you know anything?”. After a third time or so of listening to it I was ready to throttle her. Barney’s character was definitely interesting and I was surprised to find out that his character was based on a true story. This made the ending more poignant for me. Overall, despite some minor complaints this one was enjoyable as a war time read could be. The book is marked for middle grade kids, but just be warned that there is death and a bit of violence in the story.

  • David
    2019-03-13 15:34

    3.5 Holocaust books are always so hard to rate because regardless of the quality of the book I commend the author for trying to tell such an important and difficult story. This story takes the form of the perspective of a nine year old Polish boy trying to understand the horror of his circumstances. I think the makings of an excellent book were definitely here, and that the author did a commendable job, but it just didn't work for me. Having a nine year old at home certainly allowed me to really think about the book from that perspective, but I just felt like that perspective didn't come off in an authentic and accurate way. I am very happy I read this book because although it is heartbreaking, it did make me contemplate one of history's worst atrocities through the eyes of children. This is a lesson that is good to remember when one looks at history, or even makes decisions in the present. My knit picking aside, I do think this is a book that a lot of people would really enjoy and that is accessible to numerous reading levels and age groups.

  • Bosorka
    2019-03-11 14:31

    Tenká knížka, která mě oslovila vnějškem (obálkou) a nezklamala ani vnitřkem (dějem). Příběh z válečného Polska vypráví devítiletý židovský chlapec, který utekl z "bezpečí" sirotčince, aby našel rodiče. Svět jeho optikou je jiný než dospělácký svět. Felixův svět je postaven na povídačkách, jeho bezmezná fantazie pracuje naplno, zvlášť ve chvílích, kdy nedokáže uvěřit tomu, co se děje ve skutečnosti. Jeho pohled je nevinný, jak jen nevinný může být pohled malého kluka, co první roky války strávil mezi zdmi kláštěra, pod bedlivým dohledem jeptišek, kterým se navíc podařilo utajit to, co se děje venku. Jeho myšlenkové pochody jsou dojemné, zároveň ale i úsměvné, staví tragédii tehdejší doby do jiného světla. Bavilo mě putovat s Felixem a doufám, že i další knihy z této série u nás vyjdou. Rozhodně je za čas posunu i dětem.

  • Claudia
    2019-03-19 12:41

    Once there was a boy named Felix who loved to make up stories. We meet Felix in an orphanage...he's not an orphan. His parents, who run a Jewish book store, have taken him there to be safe...and they will come back to get him soon. Once...Felix sees the world through his young, innocent eyes and deeply misinterprets what's going on around him. Nazis come to the orphanage and burn books...Jewish books. Oh.He runs away to find his parents...he stumbles onto a family on the ground with red around. He knows to put a feather under their noses to see if they're breathing. Oh. He meets their daughter Zelda and the two children go to look for Felix's parents.They end up in a ghetto where Jewish people are trapped...Oh.At first Felix's voice grated on me. I knew he was in danger, even if he didn't. I wanted him to...what? See the horrors and the depravity around him? Isn't he safer in his cocoon? This is a very rich look at how the politics of WWII played out with children. Felix figures out Zelda's parents were Nazis, actually killed by freedom fighters...will her locket with a picture of her uniformed dad save her? Save him?Gleitzman does a masterful job of opening Felix's eyes...slowly...and he begins to see the world for what it is...his innocence is shattered as he tries to use his storytelling talent to save lives.Once there was a boy named Felix...

  • Annmaree
    2019-02-20 17:32

    "Felix, a Jewish boy in Poland in 1942, is hiding from the Nazis in a Catholic orphanage. The only problem is that he doesn't know anything about the war, and thinks he's only in the orphanage while his parents travel and try to salvage their bookselling business. And when he thinks his parents are in danger, Felix sets off to warn them—straight into the heart of Nazi-occupied Poland.To Felix, everything is a story: Why did he get a whole carrot in his soup? It must be sign that his parents are coming to get him. Why are the Nazis burning books? They must be foreign librarians sent to clean out the orphanage's outdated library. But as Felix's journey gets increasingly dangerous, he begins to see horrors that not even stories can explain.Despite his grim surroundings, Felix never loses hope. Morris Gleitzman takes a painful subject and expertly turns it into a story filled with love, friendship, and even humor." I loved this book. I loved Felix and I especially loved Zelda.

  • Mark Barrett
    2019-03-20 17:44

    Many, many authors have tried to present the atrocities of the Nazis in and around World War II, with varied success. Among these authors, Gleitzman must stand as among the best. The way he takes the main character, Felix, from misunderstanding through naive simplicity to full awareness and understanding of the suffering of his people is sublime. Despite us already knowing much of what Felix does not know at the start, we are taken on his journey with him and, as the understanding dawns, we are dragged through the same emotional turmoil.I read this book with a class of year 8 students (ages 12-13) and it affected them as much as any great text I have read with a class. They were spellbound, and desperate to turn the pages day after day. Whilst they seem to be the ideal age range for this book, it was every bit as powerful for me as an adult.

  • June Lee
    2019-02-17 12:20

    Once is the first book in a series of books about a boy named Felix. This book happens during World War 2. After I read the book, I had a much better understanding of what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust and what people had to go through was. The ending of this book is a cliffhanger and you have to read the next book, Then, to find what happens to Felix and his friend Zelda. I thought this book was a real page turner and I am glad that I started reading it, because I have really enjoyed it. In fact, I have also bought the other books in the series (Then, Now, After). I would recommend this book to the people of age 9 to 13 and people that like adventure stories.

  • Maddie E
    2019-02-21 17:20

    Once is a book about a boy called Felix who had lived in a Catholic orphanage for the last three years. He always hopes that his Jewish bookseller parents will come and get him. Alarmed by the sight of what he assumes are very important people burning Jewish books in the orphanage, he sets off in search of his parents to warn them. Morris Gleitzman brings heart and humour to the subject of the Holocaust (burning of books) in this amazing book. This book shows that no matter what even in the most tragic of times never give up.

  • Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
    2019-02-18 16:25

    This book really makes an impact. Felix is so innocent and sometimes naive and this, juxtaposed beside the awful happenings, violence and brutality, makes for a really gripping and intriguing story. I adored Felix and his thoughts towards his environment. The writing was simple and it felt like it was genuine, the true, raw thoughts of Felix. The rest of the characters, especially Barney, had their own charm and also felt very real. This is a charming yet heartbreaking book which is very effective.

  • Meaghan
    2019-02-19 13:41

    A beautiful and tragic Holocaust story, told through the innocent eyes of a nine-year-old boy. Sheltered in a Polish orphanage, posing as a Catholic, he has no idea what's going on around him until he runs away to find his parents. What he witnesses he at first does not understand, but the reader does and gradually Felix's naiteve is stripped away. If you like Jerry Spinelli's Milkweed, you'll love Once.

  • Sam
    2019-02-25 15:19

    This reminded me of "The boy in the striped pajamas" because of the young boys voice and naivety. Although this is from the other perspective, a Jewish boy going through the holocaust. It was an interesting read and I'll have to continue on with the other books to find out what happens because it doesn't end with the end of the war. It was sad in parts and I'd be interested to know if a young person would understand the true sadness of it.

  • Joshua Jung
    2019-02-19 11:36

    A heart-beating book about the holocaust that kept me at the edge of my seats. It made me think of my parents when I was reading this book because the main character lost his parents. It made me think about the benefits of having a family and how happy I am to be born in such a happy family.

  • Peter Batten
    2019-03-09 17:37

    I read this with my Year 5/6 class and loved the way that it prompted conversations about the atrocities that occurred in WWII in a way that was accessible to them. They are all so excited that there are sequels!