From Capstone Publishing comes a new series based on remarkable tales of survival during wartime. Great Escapes of World War II takes young readers behind enemy lines where soldiers, resistance fighters, and prisoners have only one chance to escape from Axis forces. Each book highlights these daring escapes with enough information to create a well thought out story.

In Behind Enemy Lines: The Escape of Robert Grimes with the Comet Line. U.S. Army Lieutenant Robert Z. Grimes receives help from the resistance fighter group the Comet Line as he is transported from one safe house to the next. In Death Camp Uprising: The Escape from Sobibor Concentration Camp, Jewish prisoners from all walks of life plan and execute an escape plan from Sobibor Death Camp, located in Poland. The third book in the series Outrunning the Nazis: The Brave Escape of Resistance Fighter Sven Somme tells the story of Norwegian resistance fighter Sven Somme as he travels the wooded terrain of Norway and Sweden to escape capture by the Germans. Finally, there is Tunneling to Freedom: The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III which gives readers a behind the scenes look at a famous prison escape called The Great Escape, when Allied airmen constructed various tunnel systems hoping to escape.

The book series provides a visual representation of each story, allowing readers to join with the escapees. This format is better utilized by the stories that take place mostly in the European wilderness. The illustrators use the mountain ranges, rivers, tall trees, and snowy landscapes to convey the real dangers inherent in these journeys to freedom. Besides that, there is nothing really outstanding about the rest of the artwork but the panels do flow well with the narration. The authors provide enough background information for the reader to understand the stories and the peril the characters faced. Because of this, these may be a hard sell for most readers, but those who enjoy history and survival tales may be interested.

Even though these comics may not contain anything striking, it is easy to see that the intent to create these stories is to educate. Each story comes with a glossary of terms, a bibliography, an introduction with historical backgrounds, and an updated look into each escapee’s life after the war and the impact their situation had on history, and critical thinking questions. Great Escapes of World War II is a great series for children in grades 4-6 who are interested in these true life tales. Even though its artwork and narration is simple, it provides enough information about the war for its readers. However, it is best to consider the series an additional purchase for your collection, depending on your readers’ interests.

Behind Enemy Lines: The Escape of Robert Grimes with the Comet Line
Written by Matt Chandler
Illustrated by Dante Ginevra
ISBN: 9781515735304
Capstone, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: Reading Level 3-4

Death Camp Uprising: The Escape from Sobibor Concentration Camp
Written by Nel Yomtov
Illustrated by Wilson Tortosa and Michael Bartolo (colorist)
ISBN: 9781515735328
Capstone, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: Reading Level 3-4

Outrunning the Nazis: The Brave Escape of Resistance Fighter Sven Somme
Written by Matt Chandler
Illustrated by Daniele Nicotra and Douglas A. Sirois (colorist)
ISBN: 9781515735298
Capstone, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: Reading Level 3-4

Tunneling to Freedom: The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III
Written by Nel Yomtov
Illustrated by Alessandro Valdrighi
ISBN: 9781515735311
Capstone, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: Reading Level 3-4

  • Gloria

    | She/Her Children's Librarian, Elmont Memorial Library

    Gloria is a full-time children’s librarian at the Elmont Memorial Library in Long Island, New York where she runs a monthly STEAM program, a graphic novel book club, and storytime for preschoolers. During her free time, she is found reading anything and everything from the classics, to poetry, to the newest best seller. Her other interests include writing, online games, exploring new areas in her home state, and spending time with friends, family, and colleagues. She has also written articles and reviews for the website Cosplay, Comics, and Geek Culture in Libraries and on her personal Goodreads page.

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