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The Day My Father Became a Bush

Author: Joke van Leeuwen

Illustrator: Joke van Leeuwen

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Quote: A delightful and poignant story of wartime Europe told through the eyes of a young girl, trying to make her own sense of a world gone mad.
Tomorrow's Schools Today, May 2013
Synopsis: Before he becomes a bush, Toda’s father is a pastry chef. He gets up at the crack of dawn to bake twenty different sorts of pastries and three kinds of cake. Until, one day, everything changes. Fighting  breaks out in the south and Toda’s father has to go there to defend his country.

Luckily he has a manual called ‘What every soldier needs to know’. This tells him how to hide from the enemy by using branches and leaves to disguise himself as a bush.

Toda remains in the city with her grandmother but even there it’s no longer safe. She is sent to stay with her mother who lives across the border. Toda’s journey is full of adventure and danger. But she doesn't give up. She has to find her mother.
My Best Friends Are Books, April 2013
The Day My Father Became a Bush is a touching story about war tol...
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Bookrapt, April 2013
This thought-provoking story about a young girl caught in a war-t...
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New Zealand Herald, June 2013
Toda’s father is called up to fight for his country and, in his s...
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Publishers Weekly (US), January 2014
Van Leeuwen’s haunting tale is narrated by a girl in an unnamed c...
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Tomorrow's Schools Today, May 2013
Despite its serious topic, this book is entertaining and at times...
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Saturday Express, September 2013
A delight... I loved this book. It's funny and thoughtprovoking, ...
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Create a Kids' Book Bulletin, June 2013
This is a poignant story, and will make children aware of how it...
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Horn Book Magazine, January 2014
This popular Dutch author/illustrator has a gift for writing of s...
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Ann’s Book of the Month, Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, June 2013
Toda deals with all the circumstances and people she meets along ...
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Magpies, October 2013
This book is a very skilfully written account showing how confusi...
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Starred review, Kirkus Reviews (US), November 2013
The language is smart, innocent and full of surprising—but age-fi...
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Magpies, November 2013
A surprising book for young children...[it] has the honesty that ...
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School Library Journal, January 2014
The contrast between the adults and Toda's innocence adds humour ...
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Bulletin of Ctr for Child Bks, January 2014
Toda's wide-eyed observations are laced with gentle humour that i...
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Booklist, January 2014
Toda experiences her exodus with the struggles, hopes, and misund...
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  • Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2014
  • USBBY Outstanding International Books 2015 (USA)

Country of origin   The Netherlands
Age 9+
Size 104pp, 215mm x 135mm
ISBN 978-1-877579-16-5 Paperback
Translator Bill Nagelkerke
Published by Gecko Press in April 2013
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