February 6, 2000

Lily Renée, Escape Artist, by Trina Robbins, Anne Timmons, and Mo Oh

(CAUTION: SPOILERS!) What a spectacular comic book!  Lily Renée is a real heroine, and this biographical portrayal of her life makes her story perfectly inspiring for girls of all ages.  We are introduced to Lily as a child, one who is privileged with a social life rich in culture and good friends.  As her homeland Austria is thrown into World War II, we follow Lily to England where she escapes the Nazis but endures other hardships.  Separated from her family and everyone she knows, she must find a way to survive and keep hope alive.  As a young lady she is sent to America, where she is finally reunited with her parents.  They struggle to get by until Lily is hired as an artist whose heroes battle the Nazis within the covers of the comics she illustrates.

I was very impressed with how clearly the story was presented, able to preserve the important details of the Holocaust and Lily’s life without becoming too graphic for the younger readers.  The illustrations were also very informative and detailed.  I never felt like I was reading a watered-down version of a real drama, as often happens in historical books for children, but I was drawn in and even a bit nervous that Lily “wouldn’t make it out of this one.”  

While the comic book itself was wonderful, I learned still more in the sections added on at the end.  Included were German words used in the story, events and social customs of that era, important people, actual photos of Lily and her family, and more.  This book would be an excellent supplement to history lessons, as well as a great discussion starter at home.  

**NOTE:  NetGalley and Lerner Publishing  provided this book to me free of charge, for review purposes.   

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