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Once And Then

(Once #1-2)

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  664 ratings  ·  60 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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4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  664 ratings  ·  60 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
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
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
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
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
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.
Jun 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant Morris. U did it again. However, this time less fiction and more fact. A story about a storyteller.
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,
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
My all time favorite book :*
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
Sarah Louise Leach
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.
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book I have read by this author - and I hope to read many more. The fictional story of a 10 year old child, Felix, from a Jewish heritage living in Poland in 1942. From the opening paragraphs I was captured - the author has a descriptive manner that has the reader there, we could all taste the carrot soup and the joy when Felix realised he actually had a whole carrot in his soup. The adventures that follow are tinged with tragedy but through a child's eyes, so with a different out look ...more
A story that reminds us of the cruelty of war and the conflict of religious beliefs. Felix is a young boy who is desperately wanted to find his parents. His attempt to look for them turned to be not easy as Felix thought but it brought him to a roller-coaster adventure, trying NOT to be detected as a Jewish orphan.

The author allows readers to feel what Felix wanted in life - rescuing Zelda and be part of his plan! It is a heartbreaking story - full of bravery, hope and imagination ... the only t
Jazmin Tamapeau
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
i decided to read this book because I have read other books from Morris Gleitzman and I enjoyed his style of writing. There wasn't anything major in the book that I disliked,but overall I really liked the book. The main character in this book is Felix. He is always a positive person and always thinks about other people in his life especially Zelda a little girl who he saves from a house fire, at one point in the book he looks after a woman who takes are of him and zelda from the nazais. Felix is ...more
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick, powerful read. Far more hard hitting than "The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas" (which is the obvious book to compare this with).

It's a young teens book but I'm not sure I would have coped with it at that age!

You know how when you haven't had a cake for three years and eight months and you see a cake shop and you start tasting the cakes even before they're in your mouth? Soft boiled buns oozing with icing. Sticky pastries dripping with chocolate and bursting with cream. Jam tarts.
I'm doing tha
Marie Carlino
This book is a different perspective on Nazi Germany and how it affected young people at the time that had little understanding of what was happening and why. It is about a boy who escapes an orphanage to discover that the outside world has changed drastically. He returns home to find his parents missing and sets out on a journey to find them. On the way he finds a 6 year old girl out by herself after her parents are murdered and they become a family. The duo makes friends and family with strang ...more
This was a brilliant book, each chapter reveals a new twist and turn that makes it impossible for you to put down. I know some people may not have liked the style of writing, as it is written from a stream of child's thoughts, but I thought it gave a good perspective and kept the pace of the book. This reminds us of the horrors of this period of history which is something we must all ensure we never forget.
Anvay Dixit
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic, thrilling, and saddening book. Once and Then, by Morris Gleitzman highlights the struggle of a Jewish boy in the time of the holocaust. How he ever so slightly escaped the Nazis on the death train. This book really engaged me. As it was one of my binge books, I finished it in one sitting. It brought a tear to my eye.
I reccomend this book to those who are emotionally very strong. Who can handle the extremely saddening incidents in this book.
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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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