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The Baby Experiment
by Anne Dublin (Goodreads Author)
Johanna is a 14-year-old Jewish girl who lives in Hamburg, Germany, in the early 18th century. She feels stifled by the daily drudgery of her life and dreams of seeing what lies outside the confines of the Jewish quarter. Johanna lies about her identity and gets a job as a caregiver at an orphanage. Until it's too late, she doesn't realize a secret experiment is taking pla...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published June 26th 2012 by Dundurn
(first published June 2nd 2012)
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Quick read. Not bad, but it didn't grab me either. For a higher middle grade maybe, as there are some strong themes and a scene with a bit of violence and implied rape. I think the story could have stood to be longer and while the ending implied a HEA, it's up for interpretation.
Jews have long been blamed for everything from plague to anything bad that happened. They have been persecuted for centuries. We know from our recent history how Hitler made a point of trying to wipe them out. But, did you know that in the early 1700’s they were just as persecuted and looked down on? I didn’t. Anne Dublin has crafted a story set during this time, in Hamburg, Germany. It is here we meet a young girl by the name of Johanna Eisen. She had seen a sign advertising for girls to work i...more
I enjoyed this book and it was a quick undemanding read. [return][return]The story revolves around 14 year old Johanna who gets a job at a rather unusual orphanage and then goes on to follow her struggle to rescue one of the orphans. It touches on Johanna's guilt at hiding her faith and dealing with the the repurcussions when those around her find out she is Jewish. In an limited way shows the anti semitism of the time but without really exploring any of the background to it in any depth. I thin...more
In 1703 a 14 year old Jewish girl gets a job in an orphanage to care for babies with the strict instruction that she is not to interact with them any more than absolutely necessary, and no talking to the babies ever. As babies begin to die, Joanna decides to kidnap a baby and leave. This is an interesting premise, and the story moves along quickly. I read it in one sitting. It is very simply written novel with themes of justice, religious identity, tolerance, compassion. It was decent.
This was a short, fast-paced story about a Jewish girl in Germany in the early 18th century. I think this would be an excellent addition to a classroom library (middle/high school). The pace and length makes it very achievable for students who may read below grade level, but the historical focus means that there is a lot of room for discussion and extension activities.