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|The Secret Shelter|
|by Sandi LeFaucheur
What happens when three London kids who explore a long-abandoned World War II air-raid shelter find themselves in the 1940's?
Without homes, identities, or the ration books they need to buy food, they must avoid dangers ranging from a direct hit from the bombs of the Blitz falling each night, to authorities who suspect them of being spies.
How can Sophie, Marina and Quigs survive long enough to find out how to travel in time to get home to the 21st century?
Our Choice 2005
Sophie Pinkerton, a high
school student growing up in present-day London, shares both a curiosity
and history assignment with her friends about what their neighborhood
would have been like during World War II. “Leave the past alone,” warns
old Mr. Martin, who seems to have a special knowledge of what may await
them. However, Sophie, Marina, Quigs, and their teacher, Mr. Schmidt,
insist on exploring the old air-raid shelter buried on the school grounds,
and find themselves transported back to 1940, where they meet Quigs’
ancestors. The danger is great from both the cruelties of war and the
possible discovery of their true identities especially for German-born Mr.
Schmidt. Le Faucheur has written a real page-turner, somewhat akin to Jane
Yolen’s The Devil’s Arithmetic (Viking, 1988), and the resolution
of the story contains some imaginative twists. Even minor characters are
well developed and interesting, and the historical facts are woven
seamlessly into the story. Excellent for “what if” discussions
||About the Author
Born in England, Sandi LeFaucheur crossed the
Excerpt from The Secret Shelter
“Leave the past alone, I said, but no. You
wouldn’t listen. Well, you’ve found the perishing shelter, so
let’s get on with it, if the door will even open. Been shut for over
half a century.”
The hinges groaned and screamed in protest as Mr.
Schmidt slowly wrenched the door open. At last, the door gave up the
struggle and we gazed down into the gaping chasm of the shelter. I
leaned forward and peered into the darkness as Mr. Schmidt flashed his
“The stairs are still here.” He tested one
gently with his foot. “They appear to be sound. Who shall go first?”
Quigs forgot to be bored. His eyes shone eagerly.
He leaped down the stairs two at a time, with Marina and me close
behind him. The air smelled damp and stale, sort of mushroomy. The
thought of slugs and slowworms slithered through my mind. I had to force
myself not to charge back up the moldy, slime-covered stairs to the
comfort of the June sunshine.
“Wouldn’t listen. Told you to leave the past
alone,” Mr. Martin’s querulous voice wafted down.
I reached up to help him down the stairs. A shiver ran through me as he placed his clammy hand in mine and crept slowly downwards.
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