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Hitler's Canary

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  634 ratings  ·  123 reviews
"My brother stood up so quickly he almost knocked Mama over. 'Why aren't you doing something? Do you know what the British are calling us? Hitler's canary! I've heard it on the radio, on the BBC. They say he has us in a cage and we just sit and sing any tune he wants.'"

Bamse's family are theater people. They don't get involved in politics. "it had nothing to do with us," B
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ebook, 192 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Roaring Brook Press (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,222)
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Cat {Wild Night In}
Not going to lie, I have a soft spot for all things Danish after having had the good fortune to meet some really kind, fun and interesting Danish people over the years. As such, I may have a slight bias towards all things groovy and Danish (or half Danish in Sandi Toksvig's case).

This story's written for children but had a warmth and optimism (and even humour at times) mixed in with the sadness that made it a good read for an adult who's read a fair chunk of the darker WWII-related lit. over the
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Kats
Strangely, I had never heard of this book until a member of our book club suggested to read it for this month's meeting. It's strange because I am a huge fan of Sandi Toksvig and religiously listen to her weekly "News Quiz" on BBC radio as well as watch her on TV for numberous news and stand-up comedy shows. I should know that she is written not that this one but other books, too. She is brilliant, smart, witty and....

(half) Danish.

Which is the other reason why it's strange that I'd never hear
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Caitlyn Van
Het was een goed boek over de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Ik vind dat Sandi Toksvig wat er met de joden is gebeurt en het verzet heel goed beschrijft. Ik raad het zeker aan als je meer wilt weten over de Tweede Wereldoorlog en gewoon als een goed en spannend boek. Ik las het namelijk in de pauzes op school en ik had hem bijna uit en toen ging de bel. Dat vond ik echt heel irritant. In dit verhaal kan je dan ook helemaal verdwijnen.
Megan
I am in love with Denmark right now. In love. And proud to be Danish. This book was a pleasure to read. It was about WWII which I have a thing for reading about, but it was different than any other Nazi book I've read because this was about the Danish resistance. Absolutely amazing stuff. The little boy Bamse, the main character, was so loveable and believable and wonderful and his family was quirky and weird and loveable, too. His mom was an incredibly dramatic actress who lived her entire life ...more
Robin
This is really a children's story. However, like many children's books it has a much deeper story than many adult books. The simple way it is written through the eyes of a boy still in short trousers about a serious issue [how the Danes reacted to Nazi treatment of the Jews] was in my view a minor classic.

I thoroughly enjoyed it to the point of constantly picking it up until I had too soon, finished it. It is funny, dark, illuminating of human nature and true to life in the way people constantly
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Michele
Excellent in every way. Loved it and think you should read it. I learned a lot about the Danish resistance. It is a very quick read.

165: You must stand up for everyone's right to be be who they are- otherwise you may find one day that it is you who is singled out, who is seen as different, and then there will be no one to defend you.

27:Do whatever you do well. You never know- it might just save your life.

14 Learned a new word,"livskunt" the art of living.

8 Remembering to laugh when things were b
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Josie
This reminded me a lot of Michael Morpurgo's writing -- that pared-down style that lets you focus on the story and use your imagination to fill in the details. There wasn't so much a storyline as a string of incidents/anecdotes, but I liked the overarching message that people are people, no matter which side they're on.
This is not [a story] in which all Germans were bad and all Danes were good. It didn't work that way. There were just some good people and some bad people and it wasn't always ea
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Jessica Lee
Hitler’s Canary by Sandi Toksvig is another book that takes place during World War II when the Nazi’s just began to invade Denmark. In Hitler’s Canary a young boy at the age of ten named Bamse starts to see what is happening around him, though not to the full extent. He is conflicted when his parents do nothing about the invading Nazi’s and when his older brother Orlando is part of a resistance group who is determined to try and keep the Nazi’s from taking over their country of Denmark. Bamse mu ...more
Laura
Ik had al een lange tijd geen boek meer gelezen over de WOII.
En ik had zeker nooit over de rol gelezen van Denemarken.
Het is bijna een waargebeurd verhaal, tenminste de schrijfster zegt dat sommige delen wel verzonnen zijn. Maar grotendeels is het waar.
Haar vader stierf vooodat ze de details aan hem kon vragen.

Het verhaal wordt verteld door Bamse(wat knuffelbeer is in het Deens). Eerst wist hij niet wat de Duitsers kwamen doen in Denemarken, hij wist eigenlijk heel weinig van de oorlog.
De Denen
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Dave
With a backdrop using actual events Toksvig weaves an historically based novel following the life in Denmark of Bamse, during Nazi occupation. The first 1/3 of this book is painfully slow; but I believe it redeems itself in the last 2/3rds of the books. The last 2/3 of the book is a lot easier to read. This is a good, important story to tell and for kids to understand. The meat of the book tells the story of how Danish Jews found their way to freedom with the help of their countryman. Also, the ...more
Abel
***Spoiler Alert***
Enough is enough and its time for a change! That's what Bamse and his brother Orlando think when the Nazis appear in Denmark. The start of World War Two is coming and only Bamse and Orlando think the Nazis are a threat to Denmark.
This book is a historical fiction book. It takes place during World War Two in Denmark. This book in my opinion is really good and it has some dramatical parts that make it exciting.
Bamse a twelve year old kid who is loving his life helping his mom i
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Hannah
This is another WWII era novel (are you noticing a theme of late? I'm prepping a Holocaust unit) that's notable for its plot and content rather than for the writing. Toksvig writes very plainly for my taste; maybe it's so her younger audience can keep up with what's going on, or maybe that's her style, but I felt like there was a lack of detail and development in some parts. There is also no subtlety here: be prepared to be bashed over the head with the themes of the book. What the book lacked i ...more
Valerie
A great story about the German occupation of Denmark and the Danish resistance told from an eleven year old boys point of view.
Linda Lipko
Bamse's Danish parents and their friends are non traditional. His mother is a famous actress who seems to live in an dreamy, poetic world with little of her actions indicating her feet and thoughts are planted firmly on the ground.

His papa is an artist who words for a newspaper drawing political cartoons, and who also helps design marvelous stage back drops for his lovely wife.

His brother Orlando is actively working to undermine the Nazi's.

When Denmark is invaded by Hitler's armies, at first it
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Janet
I didn't know anything about Germany's occupation of Denmark in WW2 before I read this book. It centres around Bamse and his older brother, who is a member of the Danish Resistance movement, and their actions against their occupiers. At first, Bamse is concerned for his brother, but eventually after witnessing the treatment of his Jewish friend Anton and Anton’s family, he joins too, helping out in small, but vitally important ways. His parents also have a role to play when events take a terrify ...more
Rosalind
This is a children's book but like all the best children's books, a great read for adults too. It is set during the Nazi occupation of Denmark, seen through the eyes of a child, Bamse, whose family is caught up in the Resistance movement. His mother is an actress and his father a painter in the theatre; when his older brother joins the resistance, Bamse and his best friend Anton are faced with increasingly difficult choices, as Anton turns out to be Jewish - or rather, the fact that Anton is Jew ...more
Amy Carr
I really thought I would love this book...I really wanted to like this book. It takes place in Denmark during WWII and tells the story of one family's experience participating in the danish resistance against the Nazi invasion. In telling their story, it also touches on some of the overall experiences that occurred in Denmark during this time. While I LOVE stories of the remarkable Danish people and their amazing efforts during this time in history, this particular story really fell flat for me. ...more
Madison
Hitler’s Canary takes place in Denmark during World War II. This chapter book follows Bamse’s family as they struggle with the Nazi occupation in their country. Despite the historical context in which Hitler’s Canary occurs, this book is surprisingly light-hearted. Bamse’s family works in the theater. His mother is an overdramatic actress who prefers quoting great plays rather than speaking in laymen’s terms, and his father is an even-tempered set designer who occasionally draws political cartoo ...more
Tami
Hitler’s Canary is the extraordinary story of Bamse Skovlund and his youth in Denmark during the Nazi occupation of World War II. Although not written in diary form, Bamse narrates his own story as a memory.

Bamse has grown up in the theater, as his mother is an actress on the stage. His father is an artist, often building sets and drawing political cartoons for a Danish newspaper. He has an older brother and sister and his best friend, Anton, lives in the apartment upstairs. Bamse loves watching
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Penny
This is a brilliant book for an older child to start looking at the Nazi movement and what occupation during WW2 meant. Sandi Toksvig, who never fails to make me laugh, has written this wonderful story of the Danish people who collectively saved around 90% of the Jews living in Denmark during the German occupation. It is written from the point of view of a 12 year old boy and is both comic and serious at the same time. By using humour Sandi Toksvig allows the reader to understand what is going o ...more
Beth Dean
I had no idea that Denmark was called Hitler's canary, I didn't even realise how the Nazi's treated Danish people until this book. I, of course, knew about the Holocaust and the monstrous things that happened during that time but I had no idea that for such a small and normally peaceful country, they put up such a big resistance and evacuated THAT many jews.




This book was aimed at children as an adventure story but I beleive that unless you know and understand the context of this book you won't b
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Kell
*REVIEWED FOR PUBLISHER*

It's April 1940 and German troops are pouring onto the streets of Denmark. 12-year-old Bamse is ordered by his father to keep his head down and stay out of trouble. But Bamse and his daring friend Anton can't resist playing the occasional practical joke on the invading soldiers. When it becomes clear that the trouble isn't just going to pass them by, the people of Denmark decide to take action and Bamse and his eccentric family are about to take part in one of history's m
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Emma (Miss Print)
May 02, 2015 Emma (Miss Print) rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Based on accounts of her own grandparents' work in the Danish resistance, Toksvig tells a compelling story of the many Danes who helped smuggle Danish Jews out of the country to Sweden before they were taken to Hitler's Concentration camps. The story revolves around ten-year-old Bamse and his family--a group of "theater people" as he calls them (the story is broken into scenes and acts instead of chapters). The story begins with the German occupation of Denmark in 1940 (when the BBC began to cal ...more
Amy
I cannot put into words how much I loved this book! (But I will try!)
I really enjoyed this book mainly because it was inspirational, capturing and unforgettable, really!

PROS:
~It opened my eyes to the Second World War - Everyone thinks World War 2 was just an event in the past, Jews died, it doesn't happen anymore. Well... Yes, that is true, but WW2 is so much more than that! It caused the whole of the world to panic, turn against one another, and make us trust no one. It was a whole war, caused
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Manda Graham
Hitler's Canary is a beautifully written story of real people in Denmark during WWII. It tells a shocking story in a gentle and clever way, which keeps a good pace and so really drags you along for the ride. Although the story is reflective of similar stories taking place across Europe at this time, it has a unique flavour which paints the Danish situation with a flavour of the countries culture.

I wanted to highlight one favourite character from the book, but in thinking about it realise that ma
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Anna
"There are hundreds of personal stories from that time, but this is not one in which all the Germans were bad and all Danes were good. It didn't work that way."

Good heartwarming story that shows the Nazi occupation of Denmark from a kid's point of view, so kids can understand and relate to it (not in the black-and-white way kids are usually told of WW2, but not cynically or confusingly either). At the same time, it's a good read for grown-ups, too. Includes the amazing true story of how the Dane
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Ruth
For as much as I love the premise and setting (resistance efforts on the part of a family of spunky theater people during the Nazi occupation of Denmark) something about this book still falls rather flat. And a WWII story--whatever else it does--should move me. (I'll admit that most of the elements are there, but for some reason, I lacked a connection to them. The fault may be on my side.) I do love the characters, though--especially Mother.
Ann
Beautiful story of doing what is right because it's the right thing to do.
Also an interesting different angle on WW2 focused on the Danish Resistance.
My only sad reservation is the fact that it has two or three swear words which are really not necessary and would make me hesitant about suggesting it as a reading book for a KS2 class. Otherwise would be a brilliant book for guided reading groups.
Brandon
Bamse has a normal live.....until the Germans invade Denmark. He hears the German Luftewaffe flying overhead. The Germans completely take over all of Denmark, Sending every Jew to the feared concentration camps, along with anyone who tries to rebel. Two years later, Bamse turns thirteen. When he and his best friend Anton, who is Jewish himself, start to rebel against the Nazis, tensions rise. So Bamse, his family, and Anton's family start a risky journy to switzerland, the one safe place to go. ...more
Dylan Bustos
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Danish/British writer, presenter, comedian, actress and producer on British radio and television. She currently presents The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4 and 1001 Things You Should Know on Channel 4. In October 2012 she succeeded Sheila Hancock as Chancellor of the University of Portsmouth.
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