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What if the Bomb Goes Off? Review by Courtney Larson

Stewart Ross
Trafalgar Square Publishing
814 North Franklin Street
Chicago, IL 60610

What if the Bomb Goes Off? is a historical fiction book by Stewart Ross that takes place during the Coventry Blitz in World War II. It begins with a short introduction that explains what was occurring in the war at this time (to help set the stage for the story), and ends with a "History File" that explains a few historical events. There is also a "New Words" section (two pages of vocabulary words) and a timeline that places the Coventry Blitz in the context of the war.

This book is about four boys, known as the Radford Road Gang, who live in Coventry during World War II. During the summer holidays, they decide to hunt for German spies. They aren't too worried about the war, because Coventry has only had a few air raids. Bill, the leader of the group, convinces the other boys the lack of air raids is because there are German spies in Coventry who are trying to learn about the weapons that are produced there. The boys have fun hunting for spies until the Coventry Blitz occurs. The reality of war sets in, and watching for spies continues until one of the boys is convinced he sees a spy in one of the heavily damaged areas of Coventry. It is here that two of the Radford Road Gang boys discover a bomb that has not exploded. While trying to prove to the other two boys in the Gang that they really found this bomb, they end up in a perilous situation.

What if the Bomb Goes Off? is only 54 pages long, and it has several black-and-white illustrations. While the recommended age range listed for this book is 9-12, I think it is better suited for most 7-9 year olds and is probably too simplistic for most 12 year olds. It is an interesting story that gives children a glimpse of wartime without being frightening. Overall, this book would be a good addition to a study of World War II.

Product review by Courtney Larson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2009