Thursday 19th October

A wonderfully detailed book review that I would like to share with you. I did take some of the plot details out so as not to spoil the story! George would highly recommend the book we have been studying in English this half term.

Review by George, year 5

‘Star of Fear, Star of Hope’ by Jo Hoestlandt.


This story was about two children who were very good friends during World War 2. They were called Lydia and Helen. On July 15th, Lydia had permission to go to Helen’s house because the next day, July 16th, was Helen’s birthday. That night, they were telling each other spooky zombie stories to see if their hair would stand on end like in the comics they read.

It was this night that life for Lydia was never the same again which resulted in Helen shouting in rage, “Why are you leaving me on my birthday?” forgetting that Lydia had given her a present that she had made all by herself for Helen. Lydia left with Papa in sadness.

After that, Helen never saw Lydia ever again.


Lydia’s mum at the start of the story didn’t seem very happy about having to wear a star on her and Lydia’s jackets to show that they were Jews. Lydia thought it was pretty though because I don’t think she understood what it was for.

Helen and Lydia seem to have a really lovely relationship. They were very close and they were clearly trusted by their parents to be left home alone. Helen felt really guilty about shouting at Lydia, especially after never seeing her ever again. She wished that they could still be friends even once she was a grown up.

Mama and Papa looked after everybody in their care. They were funny and sensible at the same time. They showed real kindness towards Lydia when they took her home when she asked. Papa also showed kindness looking after Madam 11 o’clock. Mama wasn’t too happy about her job as she had to keep a smile on her face, but it hurt by the end of the day as she was a waitress. Papa was a piano player. I think he liked his job. They both felt guilty at the end of the story for not keeping Lydia safe with them and taking her home in the middle of the night.

Madam 11 o’clock was a Jew that didn’t want to be arrested and was being helped by the neighbour opposite Helen. She seemed to be quite worried about what was going on, telling Papa and Mama about how all Jews were being arrested which is why Lydia wanted to leave. I assume that the Midnight Ghost was also a Jew, but we never really get told what happened to him. Perhaps he was one of the Jews in the long line outside.

Style / General comments

I like the narrator because she seemed to be overwhelmingly honest about her relationship with Lydia. At the start they were the best of friends and so she spoke really enthusiastically about what they did together, saying they were inseparable. However, by the end she has an extremely guilty voice because of shouting at Lydia and wished they could be friends again. She regrets how she treated her especially as she has never seen her again by the end of the book.

In my opinion, I think the book shows that if you do something wrong it could get even worse, in this case, she said something bad and never got to put it right. Also, it made me feel bad because during the war, the Jews were treated like rats and like they weren’t important to the Germans at all. I think this is a disgrace! When it mentioned the line of Jews that Helen could see outside of her window it made me think that perhaps they were going somewhere dangerous, perhaps a concentration camp? I don’t really know anything about these places, but I know that they sound like a bad place to go.

Overall, I would buy this book for myself so that I could read it at home. I would recommend it for all to show how bad things can happen in history and people must not treat people badly like this again because of their religion. Also, friendships are super important, and we should be kind to each other.

It’s a lot different to the books I am reading at the moment! I am reading the ‘How to train a dragon’ series! These are not based on real life events like this book and are more to do with heroes, Vikings and mythical creatures.

I would give this book 4.8 out of 5.

Miss C. Stedman, Executive Headteacher

The Bawburgh School, Hockering Lane, Bawburgh, NR9 3LR

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