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Once & Then

(Once #1-2)

4.43  ·  Rating details ·  624 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
That's the good thing with stories. There's always a chance they can come true.

Felix is lucky. Unlike the other children in the orphanage, he's certain his parents will come back for him one day. And whatever the Nazis do and however many books they burn, Felix's imagination provides him and his companions with an endless supply of stories - stories that protect them when
Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 6th 2009 by Penguin
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Jayne Charles
Oct 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magnifique livre sur la seconde guerre mondiale.
Mix entre le film "la vie est belle" et le livre "l'enfant au pyjama rayé", "Un Jour" nous raconte l'histoire de Felix, garçon polonais de 10 ans qui s'enfuit de son orphelinat pour retrouver ses parents et qui se retrouve plongé dans l'horreur de la guerre.
Nous suivons donc les aventures de ce garçon qui déborde d'humour et d'imagination.
Si les histoires qu'il raconte et qu'il se raconte montrent, au début, sa naïveté d'enfant, on assiste tout au
Rachel McKitterick
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
Apr 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Fiona Mitchell
Jan 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great story that is very sad with some horrific scenes. Couldn't put it down
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.

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.
Ella Davey
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
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.
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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,
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My all time favorite book :*
Ashleigh Armstrong
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
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
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
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
'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.
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Marie Carlino
Jun 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Nov 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
Adorable ! Ce roman réussit le pari fou de parler de l'holocauste de façon légère et assez drôle. Car l'histoire est racontée d'après un jeune narrateur, dix ans seulement et d'une naïveté confondante, mais son innocence fait aussi tout le charme du livre ! Même face à l'adversité et aux pires horreurs, Félix continue de se raconter des histoires, de garder foi en la vie et en des lendemains meilleurs. C'est son immense candeur qui rend le roman si adorable et attachant. Ce livre devrait être in ...more
Roslyn Royle
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Compulsive reading for all ages! Had to keep reading to find where this story would venture. Loved all the characters and their development and maturity as the stories progress. Loved it and highly recommend even for the younger readers. I was anxious that such a horrific setting was just not appropriate but Morris does a great job of educating as well as entertaining the realities of war and the innocent casualties that resulted for everyone.
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very moving, very sad. A Jewish boy, Felix, escapes from the shelter of his Catholic boarding house because he wants to find his parents. He was put there by his parents to protect him from the Nazis but he very innocently believes his parents are coming back. He runs away and finds a girl called Zelda, whose parents have been shot, and they travel together. The horrors of this time are very moving told through the imaginative and innocent eyes of this boy.
Anvay Dixit
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
melanie suares
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truly breathtakingly,read with tears in my eyes

Beautifully written from a 10 year old boys perspective about the holocaust.
It made me cry reading it. It honours all that were part of the holocaust with such integrity to the situation that all were in.
I feel honoured that I read this story and I can remember the people who were so badly taken or lived through the torture of WW2.
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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 (6 books)
  • Once (Once, #1)
  • Then (Once, #2)
  • Now (Once, #3)
  • After (Once, #4)
  • Soon (Once, #5)
  • Maybe (Once, #6)
“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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