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Once And Then

(Once #1-2)

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  784 ratings  ·  69 reviews
Morris Gleitzman's two best-selling novels in one volume for the first time. My name is Felix Once I saved a girl called Zelda from a burning house I had a plan for both of us Pretend to be someone else Be safe forever Then the Nazis came 'Haunting . . . dangerous and desperate, full of courage and hope' GUARDIAN
Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Published September 26th 2012 by e-penguin (first published August 6th 2009)
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Average rating 4.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  784 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Jayne Charles
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You know that feeling when you get a book home from the bookshop and start reading it, and you realise it probably is a children’s book that was shelved in the adult section because the prose is really very childlike. And you read it even though the main character seems to remain in denial about what is going on around him for way too long, and you tell yourself OK, it’s because he’s a child and a child can’t cope with evil on that grand a scale. And you read the whole thing practically in one s ...more
Emilija Topalzoleva
Okay... I have a confession to make...

I have a WEAKNESS for stories about children in WWII. I don't even know what more to say about this book. That's it. In my dictionary when children and WWII are in the same sentence, they make a wonderful book.

I love Felix and I adore Zelda. They are so young and so naive and so smart. I can imagine both of them in my head. A kind Jewish boy, a talented storyteller, a boy with big heart. And on the other side a troubled and stubborn girl, with even bigger he
Matthew White
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once I read a book, about a young Jewish boy named Felix who had to escape the Nazis. He escaped an orphanage, and journeys through the Polish countryside. Then, he ends up hiding for his life, on trains to certain death and running from the Nazis.

The book has a writing style that younger readers can pick-up, and older readers can still enjoy. However, the book is written through the perspective of Felix, and it shows his opinions on his surroundings. Not knowing what happened to his family, Fe
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Bildungsroman of a young Jewish boy in search of a family during the tragedy of WWII. The writing was immensely childish at the start; of an ignorant boy oblivious and in denial of the cruel world in which he lived in. However, as the story progressed on, Felix grows more aware- gaining emotions no 10 year old boy should ever obtain. Although ‘Once and Then’ ideally seems like a replica of ‘The Boy in Striped Pyjamas’, we view the atrocities of Hitler and the Nazis through the eyes of a suff ...more
Anna Saunderson
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book persuaded me to read the rest of the series. It’s about a boy called Felix and it’s based on his experience in the times when Hitler was alive.
Wow! Ohh. My. God. Once finished I just wanted to re-read it again it was that good. The ending was so sad and really pulled at my heart. The love between the two children and Genia was beautiful. Written through the eyes of a 10 year old boy, this is easily one of my favourite holocaust novels.

Re-read Update.
This book just blows my mind. The emotions after that ending!! Ahhhhhhhhhh!!!!! Now that I have the rest of this series I'm reading them all to see how the series ends. This is just 5 stars
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

a very good first read to kick the year off. Historical fiction about World War II told from a kid´´s perspective...and i definitely like a lot of book on the topic.

Felix is a little hero, I wanted to hug him and tell him the war will be over. And Zelda....Moved to tears, such a smart smart girl and she´s only 6 years old. Don´t you know anything? :)

I've already ordered the next book and I'll read it as soon as it arrives.
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quite a confronting book for young adults with the perspective of the horrors of the holocaust from a child's point of view. Really glad I had both books in one as it was a real page turner. A great read for boys 12+ and perhaps Yr 5 & 6 ...more
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very moving and powerful. The venue used give a better feeling of the holocaust because numbers lose meaning, but one person's story gives a greater impact. He maintained the feeling of a young boy throughout the narrative.
Fiona Mitchell
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A great story that is very sad with some horrific scenes. Couldn't put it down
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever since my grandmother passed away I’ve become more interested in both WWI and WWII. Knowing that my father was born almost exactly 4 years after the end of World War II makes me wonder how different things might have turned out if he had been alive during the war. I know only a few stories from my grandmother before she died of her experience as a child being evacuated and living on rations during the First World War. I am grateful that despite all the hate and violence in our world today, I ...more
Michelle Johnson
A novel based on a real person
(2018 bookshelf goal)

Maybe you've seen the footage on Facebook of the man who ran a Jewish orphanage during the Holocaust but would not leave the kids. He was given many chances to leave them so he could live and even at the very very end, he would not leave them and died because of it. He's a real hero. (If you have not, look it up...very touching.) This man was what prompted this book.

But oddly the book is only partially about him. The book is more about a boy.

Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw this in the bookshop and couldn't leave it behind. It called to be read. And wow it did not disappoint, I finished within 2 days.
There was a point when I thought it was a children's book, shelved wrongly. A time when I thought why hasn't anyone told Felix what is happening. But then it all becomes clear.
An amazing read for any adult who wants to journey with Felix, to feel the pain and joys of his life during a terrible time.
Yvette Adams
A Jewish boy in a Polish orphanage is sure his parents are returning for him. But the Nazis come so he's on the run. I found the 10yo narrator too annoying and naive, but the story itself was good. And there was no corny ending.
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It seemed like one of those books where the author has no real idea of what being a child feels like? Or else Felix was just extremely stupid.
About halfway through the second book, it got better and probably closer to what a 9/10-year-old actually thinks like.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once and Then is an amazing series of books about... well, I won’t spoil anything. I loved these books and they are my top series. You should definitely read these, they will give you an all new perspective. I recommend them highly!
Lila M
May 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school
This book is absolutely amazing. I want to read it over and over and over again. It made me cry and laugh and always had me on the edge of my seat. If I could give it 6 stars I would! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. The ending is also super sad
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the book, Once And Then, by Morris Gleitzman, portrays several themes.
For example, he shows togetherness and audacious. The main character, 'Felix' faces many hardships thought his journey. He tries to find his family by leaving an orphanage all by him self, but meets a few friends along the way. I extremely enjoy this book because it makes the reader feel many emotions. The charecter tries to protect himself, and others too. I choose this book because the blurb was really interesting, plus,
My all time favorite book :*
Morgan Price-Kerr
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: holocaust
Read this like five times as a kid, cried every time haha
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
Brilliant Morris. U did it again. However, this time less fiction and more fact. A story about a storyteller.
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was amazing! I loved it so much and that's all.
Marija Stojanovik
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book

Excellent reminder of what should never happen again, seen through a lens of an innocent child! Thanks for this book!!!!
Naomi Schofield
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
this book is about a Jewish boy that tries to escape the orphanage that he lives in to save his parents from the Nazi with some other children during world war 2.
Ashleigh Armstrong
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Truly fabulous! If you loved ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ you will love this. It’s better. So much better. The vivid imagery and use of key terms ‘Once and Then’ truly add to the specialty of this story. Felix’s innocent yet humorous voice will tug on more than your heart strings. Definitely a series to consider and to read again and again.
May 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
TITLE: Once and Then
AUTHOR: Morris Glietzman

BOOK DESCRIPTION: This book has two stories inside of it. These two stories are part of a four book series. The whole series is based on a young, Jewish boy named Felix surviving while the horrors of World War II surround him.
In the first book, Once, Felix is living in an orphanage in the Polish Mountains. He thinks this is because his parents have to travel lot's because of their job. However he is wrong. When he finds out that his
Aug 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The way Felix understand war between the Germans and Jewish saddened me. Perhaps that was the way children thinking back then. Where at first they thought Adolf Hitler was a saviour and a great leader, but later as they saw their families been murdered mercilessly by Nazis; they knew that they should never again trust this man named Adolf Hitler.

The book depicted all gory scenes from the perspective of a child, who later grew matured due to all the sufferings he witnessed during his journey fro
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My twelve your old son read these books and enjoyed them so I thought I would share something with him by reading them too. I have now finished crying enough to review them. Gleitzman based the books around the story of Janusz Korczak and he has done a great service to that brave mans memory. The story centres around Felix a 10 year old Jewish boy in Nazi occupied Poland who at first, does not understand at all what is happening to himself and his country. The first few chapters are brilliantly, ...more
May 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Once and Then' is the story of Felix Salinger, 'Once' tells the first part of his story and 'Then' is the sequel, the books were made into one book in 2009 in preparation for the third and final part of Felix's story, 'Now', due for release on the 6th May of this year.

I added 'Once' to my wishlist after reading Janet's review and having never getting around to purchasing it, I was pleased to see the two books in one because I knew if I enjoyed the story I would want to know what happened next.
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Morris began his writing career as a screenwriter, and wrote his first children's novel in 1985. His brilliantly comic style has endeared him to children and adults alike, and he is now one of Australia's most successful authors, both internationally and at home. He was born in England in 1953 and emigrated to Australia in 1969 so he could escape from school and become a Very Famous Writer.


Other books in the series

Once (7 books)
  • Once
  • Then
  • Now
  • After
  • Soon
  • Maybe
  • Always (Once, #7)

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“Dear Reader Once and its sequel Then are two parts of the same story, but they were written and published as two separate books. In this edition they are together for the first time. Felix and Zelda’s story came from my imagination, but it was inspired by a period of history that was all too real. My grandfather was a Jew from Krakow in Poland. He left there long before that time, but his extended family didn’t and most of them perished. Fifteen years ago I read a book about Janusz Korczak, a Polish Jewish doctor and children’s author who devoted his life to caring for young people. Over many years he helped run an orphanage for two hundred Jewish children. In 1942, when the Nazis murdered these orphans, Janusz Korczak was offered his freedom but chose to die” 2 likes
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