Buffalo and Erie County Public Library

!!To protect your privacy, please remember to log out when you are finished. The Log Out button is at the top of the page.!!

Boxes for Katje /

After a young Dutch girl writes to her new American friend in thanks for the care package sent after World War II, she begins to receive increasingly larger boxes. Full description

Main Author:
Other Authors: Dressen-McQueen, Stacey,
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003
Edition: First edition.
Online Access: Publisher description
Tags: Add Tag
No Tags, Be the first to tag this record!
View on New Catalog
Cover Image
Saved in:

Simple seeds of friendship grow into something extraordinary

After World War II there is little left in Katje's town of Olst in Holland. Her family, like most Dutch families, must patch their old worn clothing and go without everyday things like soap and milk. Then one spring morning when the tulips bloom "thick and bright," Postman Kleinhoonte pedals his bicycle down Katje's street to deliver a mysterious box - a box from America! Full of soap, socks, and chocolate, the box has been sent by Rosie, an American girl from Mayfield, Indiana. Her packageis part of a goodwill effort to help the people of Europe. What's inside so delights Katje that she sends off a letter of thanks - beginning an exchange that swells with so many surprises that the girls, as well as their townspeople, will never be the same.

This inspiring story, with strikingly original art, is based on the author's mother's childhood and will show young readers that they, too, can make a difference.

Boxes for Katje is a 2004 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year and a 2006 California Young Readers Medal for Picture Books for Older Readers winner

Review by Booklist Review

K-Gr. 3. In May 1945, a Dutch girl namedatje is thrilled to receive a letter and a package of socks, soap, and chocolate from Rosie, a girl she doesn't know who lives in Mayfield, Indiana. The kids start to exchange letters, and when Rosie's family members learn of Holland's severe post-war deprivations, they enlist Mayfield residents to send food and clothes toatje, who generously shares the gifts with others in her community. The sense of suffering isn't strong here, in part because the Dutch townspeople are almost always depicted as smiling about the packages. But the story is still moving, and Dressen-McQueen's lively illustrations, in colored pencil, oil pastel, and acrylic, pack lots of color, pattern, and historical details onto every expansive page. Fleming based the book on her mother's experience, which she describes in an author's note; in the real-life story, however, adults, not children, orchestrated the events, a finding that may be a little disappointing to kids who took the book, with its specific dates, town names, and heroic, generous children, as straight fact. --Kathleen Odean Copyright 2003 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Inspired by actual events, Fleming's (Ben Franklin's Almanac, reviewed below) engaging story of post-WWII Holland serves as a potent-and merry-lesson in generosity. The residents of war-ravaged Olst "patched and repatched their worn-thin clothing, and they went without soap or milk, sugar or new shoes." Through the Children's Aid Society, an American child, Rosie, sends a box of provisions to Katje, a windfall the girl gladly shares with the postman and her mother. Her thank-you note inspires a larger package, which she aportions to her neighbors, and so on, until sleds of provisions from Rosie's town arrive for all the residents of Olst. Fleming deftly dramatizes the story with lively conversations among the townspeople and letters between the two girls. In an outstanding debut, Dressen-McQueen immerses readers in post-war Holland, crafting an entirely credible world of cobblestone streets, Dutch architecture and vintage clothing. Primitive in its flattened perspectives, these earth-toned illustrations (which progressively brighten as the situation does) resonate with joy and fellowship. The girls' letters and small, painted "snapshots" of Rosie's world drop into full-bleed panoramas of Katje's town. That is, until the story's end, when the residents of Olst return a gift to Rosie, whose jubilant receipt of the package fills the spread. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-This primarily iconographic presentation of Candace Fleming's historical fiction picture book (Farrar, 2003) gently captures the themes of friendship, caring, sharing, and generosity. It opens with a live-action clip of Fleming sharing the background of the story which was drawn from an incident in her mother's life. The female narrator reads in an accented voice with expression and careful pacing, creating a different voice for each character. The story takes place in Holland just after the conclusion of World War II. An American child living in Indiana sends a series of packages to Katje, a child living in Olst. At first Rosie sends Katje a box containing soap, socks, and chocolate. Katje appreciates the generous gift of needed supplies. Rosie continues to send Katje more and more packages which increase in size. Katje shares their contents with her needy neighbors and sends thank you letters to Rosie. Soon Rosie involves her entire community in the growing project to collect and send boxes of basic necessities to the people in Holland. A variety of camera angles and sprightly music keep the production moving and prevent the plot from becoming monotonous. A bit of animation is incorporated when the postman is shown riding his bicycle to make a delivery at Katje's home. The artwork by Stacey Dressen-McQueen accurately reflects the time and place. A worthy purchase for school and public libraries looking for historical fiction titles for primary grade children.-Lynn K. Vanca, Akron-Summit County Public Library, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Candace Fleming is the author of Gabriella's Song. She lives in Mount Prospect, Illinois.

Stacey Dressen-McQueen lives in Portland, Oregon. Boxes for Katje is her first book.

Similar Items