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Summary

Felix lives in a convent orphanage high in the mountains 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 all of 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.
©2005 Morris Gleitzman (P)2005 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd.

Critic reviews

  • 2005 Audie Award Nominee, Children's Titles, Ages 8+

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A moving, emotional tale.

The author has crafted this book extremely well, unrolling the answers to the readers' questions as they form in their minds, like dangling a large carrot in front of them. Easy to read level-wise, but definitely not easy to read. I would recommend to mature year 6 children(age 11) and above. An excellent listen.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Didn't realise it was a children's book but still

A great read. Well developed the characters in what are unimaginable circumstances. Good book to teach children about a personal perspective of this period in history.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Once we read a book

Good story, catches the imagination, interesting. It was exciting and adventurous but sad. Be prepared.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Denis
  • 04-03-06

once ..loved by all

i bought this book for my 11 yr old boy
who loved it but the person who really adored it
was my 8 yr old niece who listened it to over and over again.
this story really captured her imagination.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Laura
  • 29-12-14

Such a sad story

What did you love best about Once?

That the boy tried to write stories about his experiences.

What other book might you compare Once to and why?

The boy in the striped pajamas

What does Morris Gleitzman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

It was more sad I think listening to it. If I'd been reading it I'd not have finished it.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Cry cry. Laugh a little then cry some more.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sarah
  • 27-05-14

Kids Favourite

My kids loved this story and series in fact. At first I thought it a bit naive and young for them but I liked the way it gently introduced what would have been the experiences of a child during this time of history. They couldn't get enough of it and were talking about it for ages. Great read great story, loved hearing the author read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Samantha
  • 02-09-12

Love this book

Really like hearing this story being read by the author. Morris Gleitzman is a great reader and writer. An amazing story of optimism and friendship. Highly recommended to people of all ages, especially kids. If you love this book, definitely go on and listen to 'Then', 'Now' and 'After'.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-12-10

I enjoyed this book... My kids loved it

This is a good story in a kids perspective on a topic we all know. Both of my daughters enjoyed it so much that they put it on their ipods.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • 21-12-09

Excellent for Children and Adults

I listened to this with an 8 yr old. We both thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a story of a child who lives during the Nazi occupation of Poland and is told in his voice and from his standpoint. Highly recommend.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Christine
  • 20-06-08

Brillant, raw, insightful and so much more

So heartbreaking and moving. Loved all the characters. Will get all the kids to listen to it.
Barney & Fliex are such heroes and the little girls that jumped.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Bev
  • 26-09-07

Heart Breaking

Told from a child's point of view, Once is touching and heartbreaking. As a Jewish boy hidden in a Catholic Orphanage, our hero decides to go in search of his parents, in the middle of the Nazi effort to rid the world of his people. Caught up in the tragedy this child relates the atrocities in such an innocent voice that it has stuck with me every since. At once being part of something he cannot comprehend, and trying to sustain the hope his parents are alive, I found myself hoping beyond hope that history could change. Alas, it does not.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Susan
  • 27-11-09

not a childs book

world war 2 thru the eyes of a inocent child it was shocking and heart rending and an unusual telling of a horrible time excelent

0 of 1 people found this review helpful