Illustrated by Mary Reardon
Ages 8 to 12
Penguin, 2005, 0-525-47626-1
When the people living in the village of Riswyk hear that the Nazi’s are on their way to their village they become exceedingly anxious for right there, in their village, a large amount of Norway’s gold is being stored, thirteen tons of bullion in fact. Whatever happens, the villagers decide, the Nazi’s cannot be allowed to get their hands on the gold. The question is, how are they to move the gold without tipping the German’s off. The soldiers will be there soon and they have very little time to make any plans and certainly not enough time to move the gold away.
Then thirteen year-old Peter Lundstrom has an idea. He suggests that he and the other older children in the village can move the gold on their sleds. All the Nazis will see are a group of children sledding down a hill. Surely they will never guess that gold bullion is tied to the sleds, covered up and hidden from view. The gold can then be loaded onto Uncle Victor’s boat and when the time is right it can be taken away from Norway, away from their enemies.
In what seems like very little time at all Peter and his friends are transporting the gold down the mountain to a hidden storage area. Day after day the children skim down the snowy slopes right under the unsuspecting noses of the German troops. The work is exhausting and there is always the fear that the whole scheme will be discovered. Then there is the weather to worry about. Will there be enough snow or is spring going to come soon this year? If it does how on earth are they going to move the gold?
Based on a true story this is a tale which will astonish young readers who think that children are too young and too small to make a difference. Here is an example of how children were able to complete a very valuable mission which meant a great deal to their entire country in a time of war. Their courage and resourcefulness meant that the Norwegians were able to both hide their gold and keep their national dignity in a very difficult time.
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