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WILLY AND MAX by Amy Littlesugar


A Holocaust Story

by Amy Littlesugar & illustrated by William Low

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-399-23483-7
Publisher: Philomel

In WWII Antwerp, Christian Willy and Jewish Max become inseparable after Max’s father purchases a painting in the shop owned by Willy’s father, and they vow to be “friends forever.” When the Germans enter Belgium, Max and his family must flee and ask Willy’s father to safeguard the artwork, which storm troopers eventually steal. Sixty years pass. Now living in America, Willy receives word from a museum curator that the painting has been recovered—been located through an attached childhood photograph featuring the boys. This leads to Willy’s reunion with the now-deceased Max’s family to whom he returns the painting, symbolizing that, once again, it has united the friends. This touching story demonstrates that true friendship transcends all odds. Low’s paintings capture the time and place, and warm colors predominate as happy memories overshadow horrors. No explanation is given, however, as to just how the photo led the museum to locate Willy and Max’s family. An author’s note discusses efforts to restore artwork stolen by the Nazis to their rightful owners. (Picture book. 6-10)