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Bertie's War Review by Linda and Kathy Gelzer

Barbara Tifft Blakey
Kregel Publications
PO Box 2607
Grand Rapids, MI 49501

Bertie's War is a book about a twelve-year-old girl growing up during the Cuban Missile Crisis. She lives near the Washington coast. This novel is about 200 pages long and talks about Bertie's family life along with the events of that time. She goes to public school and lives with her understanding mom, her firm dad, her annoying older sister, Tami, and her naughty younger brother, Aaron.

Bertie wants to make her dad proud of her, but every time she tries it turns out a disaster. To make matters worse, her grandmother--her favorite relative--dies. Then, Bertie does something terrible and can't face her fears and confess to her parents. All the while, panic controls her, and she finds herself crying often.

This book would be good for a girl about 10-13 years old since it's about a 12-year-old girl and is somewhat sizeable. Although that age group would enjoy it the most, both younger and older girls would like it too. Also, I think it would be best as an independent read because it's written in first person from Bertie's perspective.

There are some things that parents might not like, such as the words stupid, idiot, and boring. There is one incident of a minor smoking as well as some yelling, name calling, and lying. Magical creatures such as wizards and witches are mentioned but only in Bertie's daydreams. There is no witchcraft in the book.

Bertie references some classical books that she has read: Jane Eyre, Uncle Tom's Cabin, and Oliver Twist, among others. The book speaks about God. Bertie prays and feels His presence. This book teaches you that you should be loving toward others and think of them before yourself. At the end of the book Bertie discovers that if she replaces a bad quality in herself with love, some of her fears will go away too.

I think Bertie's War is a good book because it teaches some good lessons. You get a peek into Bertie's life, and it's very interesting.

Product review by Linda and Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010