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The Day My Father Became a Bush
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The Day My Father Became a Bush

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  34 reviews
Before he becomes a bush, Toda's father is a pastry chef. He gets up at the crack of dawn to bake twenty different sorts of pastries and three kinds of cake. Until, one day, everything changes. Fighting breaks out in the south and Toda's father has to go there to defend his country. Luckily he has a manual called 'What every soldier needs to know'. This tells him how to hi ...more
Published April 1st 2013 by Gecko (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  152 ratings  ·  34 reviews

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Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Remarkably good. Recommended reading for teachers who want their students to have some understanding of the refugee experience.
While the book shows what can and does go wrong - how refugees can get lost, lose their papers, get ripped off by amoral people in positions of power, it also shows the resilience, adaptability and initiative that enables survival. And it's not heavy-handed: the author uses Toda's off-beat sense of humour to show how ridiculous some adults are, and how even when she is
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good book to show uw how children who get send abroad during a war experience what they're going through
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagine your life as a girl that doesn't know her mother and lives with your pastry def father. Being turned upside down when a war breaks out and your father has to fight and you have to find your mother that you do not know. The book is great at showing what a child as a refugee may go through although it isn't intense and gruesome. A great way to teach Fourth and Fifth graders about war
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mooi actueel verhaal wat past bij de huidige vluchtelingenproblematiek. Toch luchtig doordat het vanuit het perspectief van een kind is geschreven. Ik heb erg genoten van de taal van het vreemde land en kan me voorstellen dat kinderen dat ook doen.
#boekenbingo2017 11/60
Kathleen Dixon
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kathleen by: the Bookshop
This is a charming little book about a child caught in a war zone. Her parents are separated - one on each side of the border; her father, who she lives with, goes off to be a soldier; her grandmother comes to look after her. But then bombs begin falling in her village, and her grandmother arranges for her escape across the border.

This is told in the very naive voice of a girl who tends to take things literally. It's sweet and funny.

Just one thing - I'd assumed it was historical fiction. To me t
Pieter Brouwer
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heb dit boek voorgelezen aan mijn zoontje. Het is echt in die zo originele schrijfstijl van Joke van Leeuwen geschreven, maar het onderwerp is heel serieus. Vanuit het perspectief van een klein meisje wordt heel helder en schrijnend maar ook luchtig geschreven over hoe zij vluchteling wordt in een oorlog. Juist omdat de landen, talen en culturen fictief zijn gehouden, krijgt het iets universeels. Het zou voor sommige volwassenen ook goed zijn dit te lezen om zich beter te kunnen inleven in een v ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gayle dos Anjos
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hands down, the best book I've read all year - and it's Kids' Middle Fiction. Interesting plot, unexpected turns and quirky characters.
Mooi boek over Toda, die bij oma en haar vader woont, totdat haar vader een struik werd en in het leger gaat werken. En dit terwijl hij altijd bakker is geweest. Oma blijft de bakkerij bewaken, maar Toda moet met haar paspoort op pad richting haar moeder in een ander land. De reis is niet zonder gevaar... Zou zij ooit bij haar moeder aankomen?

(51e boek Boekenbingo 2017)
Pop Bop
May 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
A Little Bird in a Big World

One of the most powerful, disturbing and memorable books to reflect the horror of wartime displacement was Jerzy Kosinski's "Painted Bird". It was published in 1965 and traced the story of a young boy who had been abandoned by his parents during World War II, and ended up wandering from village to village in Eastern Europe in search of safety and shelter. It describes a brutal, harrowing, senseless and merciless world. The language of the book was direct, sparse, blea
Nov 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
Toda lives with her father and grandmother. Her mother left them years earlier and went to a neighboring country. Now Toda’s father has gone to be a soldier in a war. Toda discovers that he has learned how to become a bush, so that he will not be shot. At first Toda stays with her grandmother in their family bakery, but that soon becomes too dangerous. Her grandmother sends her off to her mother, but Toda must make a dangerous journey with strangers to cross the border. Though her grandmother ha ...more
Leonie Jordan
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, war
I'm so glad to have discovered this little gem of a book! I received it as a lucky door prize at a Christmas party, and never having heard of the author, was going to simply donate it to the library where I work. Having nothing to read on the train, though, and intrigued by the title, I found myself browsing through it - and was immediately hooked.

Reminiscent of Morris Gleitzman's 'Once' series, this is poignant but funny story of war told from a child's perspective. The book is set in an unnam
Feb 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: boekenbingo-2017
Een prachtig verhaal, maar ik vond het niet altijd even prettig lezen. Met de eerste 6 hoofdstukken van het boek heb ik echt wat moeite gehad. Daarna ging het beter, maar nog steeds kwam ik niet echt in het verhaal. Helaas.
Jan 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a story of a young girl caught between a war, two homes and separated parents (the mother lives across the border). It explores and depicts the emotions of Toda the main character as she is sent away from the only home she knows to live with a mother she doesn't remember, while her father has to go fight a war. Her voice is both innocent and very frank. Interestingly enough, after running into a few troubles on her solo journey she learns to keep certain things to herself.
I like how she
When war comes closer to her homeland, Toda's father, a pastry chef, at first leaves her in the care of her grandmother, and then has her travel to stay with her mother who lives across the border. The young girl isn't sure what her father's involvement in the war actually is, and she decides that it involves pretending to be a bush since she reads a book on camouflage. Although Toda's journey starts off well, she eventually gets separated from the others who are fleeing to the other side and lo ...more
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dream-library
A simple, easy-to-read book that will make you pause a hundred times over.

In this story, children learn what it's like to be a refugee. Toda is a young girl who's father goes off to war. She is staying in the basement of the his pastry shop with her grandmother when the war escalates in her village. Her grandmother decides it is no longer safe for Toda; she must cross the border to reach her mother in the next country.

The author weaves humor into the scenes to make it a more bearable read, but
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Toen mijn vader een struik werd, woonden we ergens anders.
Zo begint het boek Toen mijn vader een struik werd. Het verhaald over Toda (afkorting van een langere voor ons niet uit te spreken voornaam) dit een land woont waar de enen met de anderen vechten. Voordat haar vader een "struik" werd was hij banketbakker en bakte iedere dag 20 verschillende gebakjes en 3 verschillende taarten. Dat moest hij iedere dag doen, zo lekker waren ze.
Maar er komt oorlog. Gelukkig heeft haar vader een handboek voo
Mar 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, war, netgalley
The funny thing is, I read almost the whole way through this before I realized it was contemporary. I had thought it was WW2. Then someone in the story started typing on a computer and there were plastic baggies and her parents are separated but not by war and I was like whaaaat?

Anyway! The story is well written and has the true voice of a child. The illustrations are good too. Its about a girl who has to flee over the border during wartime to the safety of her mother's house (which she's never
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Say you’re a young girl living with your dad – your mom lives
in another country and you haven’t seen her in ages – and a
war breaks out. Your pastry chef dad thinks he should go fight,
and looking in a book he gives you, you see a picture of a soldier
camouflaged as a bush.

He tells you your grandmother’s coming to live with you while he’s away, and she does, but then fighting breaks out in your village;
she feels it’s no longer safe for you there, and sends you away to
be with your mom.

Then starts a
May 31, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book and thought that it was really well written. I did find the ending a bit disappointing though, because I had a good time reading it and then realised that I got nothing out of it, and the story seemed a bit incomplete too. After reading other peoples reviews I realised that it was about the refugee experience, so I guess that it is a less shocking and more child friendly version of some of the other war-ish books. I did really enjoy reading this book though and it had a nice st ...more
Jan 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
While this book describes what refugees may go through, it also shows their resilience. It’s not as intense as some war stories; the author uses Toda’s off-beat sense of humor to show how ridiculous some adults are, and how even when she is hungry and frightened, she can still find comedy in some situations.

Great book to help introduce the troubles of war to students in fourth or fifth grade.
Heather Layne
I kept wanting to know more, but part of the point of the book is that the reader really doesn't know much more than the little girl narrator. I never knew the names of the countries or languages. I don't know a lot about current events/recent history to make any good guesses, either. However, this seemed like a very genuine story from someone in this situation. Poor little kid.
What an amazing book. It's war, but not as we know it. Not the way "What is the What" tells about war through the eyes of a child.
Joke van Leeuwen uses very simple sentences to tell a story, to build up tension. Those short words and sentences are so well chosen, it pulls you in. Little drawings make it more real.
Well done. Can't wait for my kids to be old enough to read it themselves.
Sue Poduska
Feb 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this completely offbeat novel, the reader has a chance to learn about all the concerns of refugees. The author is able to give subject a light touch by showing the world through the eyes of a child. Children don’t look at war the same way an adult would. Readers will cheer for Toda and wish her well.
Feb 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Heel tof boek, rijke taal, andere blik op de oorlog ...
Dec 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This page-turning story grab my hand. It's really interesting.

If only it could be a little bit longer.

4 stars!
Mar 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, A delightful story of wartime Europe told through the eyes of a young girl. A really good book for primary/intermediate students.
I liked it, but wasn't in LOVE with it. I'm not sure how many kids would actually read this, but it's a nice introduction for kids on war and refugees, etc.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kind of like The Phantom Tollbooth meets Dr. Strangelove. But in Dutch, natuurlijk. I like the illustrations - the style, the usage, the humor.
Clara Chen
This book was pretty good but I thought that the narration and word choice wasn't very good. The story isn't that deep but if your looking for a quick and simple read, then its pretty good.
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