Shadow on the Mountain
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Preus incorporates archival photographs, maps, and other images to tell this story based on the real-life adventures of Norwegian Erling Storrusten, whom Preus interviewed in Norway.
Praise for Shadow on the Mountain
"Newbery Honor winner Preus infuses the story with the good-natured humor of a largely unified, peace-loving people trying to keep their sanity in a world gone awry. Based on a true story, the narrative is woven with lively enough daily historical detail to inspire older middle-grade readers to want to learn more about the Resistance movement and imitate Espen’s adventures."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"This engrossing offering sheds light on the Norwegians’ courage during World War II. Preus masterfully weds a story of friendship with the complications faced by 14-year-old Espen and his friends as Nazi restrictions and atrocities become part of their everyday lives...This is at once a spy thriller, a coming-of-age story, and a chronicle of escalating bravery. Multidimensional characters fill this gripping tale that keeps readers riveted to the end."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"A closely researched historical novel... relates this wartime tale with intelligence and humor...Ms. Preus deftly uses together historical fact (Espen is based on a real-life spy) and elements of Norwegian culture to conjure a time and place not so terribly long ago."
—The Wall Street Journal
"Margi Preus, who won a Newbery honor for Heart of a Samurai, returns with another riveting work of historical fiction... This fine novel, which includes an author’s note, a timeline, a bibliography and even a recipe for invisible ink, is based on extensive research... The result is an authentic coming-of-age story, perfect for readers fascinated by the diary of Anne Frank or Lois Lowry’s classic, Number the Stars."
"The final chapters, which chronicle Espen’s dramatic escape to Sweden—days and nights of mountain skiing, Nazis in hot pursuit—take the book into adventure-thriller territory without losing the humanity that characterizes Preus’s account."
—The Horn Book Magazine
"Preus makes crystal clear the life imperiling risks that Espen undertakes and the danger to his family."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"As readers understand the risks that Espen took, they will want to learn more about this period. That Espen escaped to Sweden by traveling at night on skis with five different guides should intrigue them.”
—Library Media Connection
VOYA Top Shelf for Middle School Readers 2012 list
2013 Notable Books for a Global Society
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award
looking at them. She couldn’t just run downstairs with a fistful of ration cards! What would Mor say? Or Espen? They would want to know where she’d gotten them. So Ingrid lifted her skirt, slid some of the cards into her underwear, and ran downstairs with her stockings in her hand. She sat down—carefully—on the bottom step to put them on. Espen stood by the door, staring through the window at the street. “Can’t you at least hurry up a little?” What was he looking at? Ingrid wondered, and she
Ole. “Like my job at the radio shop.” Ole’s kick to Leif overshot him. “The Nazis still need people who know how to fix their radios.” “And I’ve got my job at the fish …” Leif scrambled to catch up with the ball. “… factory. The Germans have to eat.” Stein reached the ball first, and sent it to Gust. “I’m all set,” he said. Nobody worried about Stein. He was the one who took care of things for everyone else. “Per and I are going to stay here in the mountains,” Gust offered. “With the Boys in
as pale blue writing appeared between the dark black sentences of the letter. “Invisible ink!” he gasped, then read the words aloud as they appeared: “Your group has been compromised. Someone has a shadow.” He thought for a moment and then said, “A shadow?” “A spy,” Tante Marie said. “Someone in your group is being followed.” Espen and Tante Marie looked at each other. “Maybe you,” she added. “Me?” Espen whispered. “Do you think there’s an informer in your group?” Tante Marie asked. Espen
Kjell both times. Why had Kjell been there just then, standing in the shadows as if he’d been waiting for Espen? If Kjell—his friend—had been responsible for what had happened to Stein and Per and Gust but had somehow spared Espen … that made him angrier than anything! The idea of Kjell being the spy dogged him, pedaling after him like the devil on a bicycle. “Are you worried about the spy?” Tante Marie had asked him as she jiggled the key in the shed door. “Of course,” he’d said, “but I’ll be
different matter.” He watched as she picked up the entire plate of waffles, placed it in a pail, and covered it with a cloth. She was still talking. She had moved on to Norse mythology, and he tried to pay attention, but all he could think about was what the fate of all that deliciousness was going to be. “… you know the one I’m talking about,” she was saying. “Not the Odin Swensen who works in the hardware store—I’m talking about Odin, the Norse god, the all-seeing god. But being all-seeing