For as long as he can remember, Sasha has looked forward to the day when he would be old enough to join the Youth Pioneers. Sasha, like many others in the USSR, worships his nation’s fearless leader, Joseph Stalin. Now that the day is upon him, Sasha’s excitement is tainted by a series of frightening events – starting with the arrest of his beloved father.
The setting of the Soviet Union is one not often seen in children’s literature. Likewise, the story itself is not one often told.
The story is fast paced and full of action.
While overall I like the illustrations, there are times that the simple pencil illustrations are cartoonish, distracting some from the seriousness of the story.
2012 Newbery Honor