Book Reviews of The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics)

The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics)
The Devil's Arithmetic - Puffin Modern Classics
Author: Jane Yolen
PBS Market Price: $7.59 or $3.69+1 credit
ISBN-13: 9780142401095
ISBN-10: 0142401099
Publication Date: 4/12/2004
Pages: 176
Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Rating:
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.
 25

4.4 stars, based on 25 ratings
Publisher: Puffin Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

14 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Jane Yolen is a brilliant story-teller (she's famous at the National Storytelling Festival) and this book is an example of what she does best. Hannah is a typical 12 year old who doesn't understand why she has to go to Passover at her grandparents and why she has to listen to their stories every year. This year, she is swept back in time, to the Holocaust and the lessons she learns will stay with her for a lifetime. The ending is rich and was totally unexpected. I loved this book and highly recommend it. I fully believe that if we ever forget the Holocaust it will happen again.
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 122 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
"When Hannah opens the door during Passover Seder to symbolically welcome the prophet Elijah, she suddenly finds herself in the unfamiliar world of a Polish village in the 1940s. Hannah had always complained about listening to her relatives tell the same stories of the Holocaust over and over, but now she finds herself in a terrifying situation. The Nazi soldiers have come to take the villagers away, and only Hannah can guess where they are going."
Winner of the National Jewish Book Award and the Association of Jewish Libraries Award.
A Puffin book.
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Amazing story! I read it in two sittings. Great for home-schoolers or even for grown-ups who want to think about this from a different point of view! Sucks you right in...have tissues ready!
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Reviewed by Cana Rensberger for TeensReadToo.com

THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC by Jane Yolen is required reading at my school, as it is in many middle/junior high schools across the country. I've been meaning to read it for several years but never did, until my son read it this year as an eighth grader. He insisted I read it. How could I resist that?

Hannah is celebrating Passover Seder with her family. It's the same thing every year. Grandpa will get all worked up over old photos on TV, shaking his fist, screaming about the numbers on his arm, and Aunt Eva will calm him down as she always does, laying a hand on his arm, leading the same old Jewish prayers as Hannah mumbles along. But this year will be different. Hannah's brother, Aaron, will get to hide the afikoman, Hannah will get to taste real wine, and then she'll get to open the door to symbolically welcome in the prophet Elijah.

But when she opened that door, she had no idea just how different this year's celebration would be.

Instead of seeing the hallway in front of her as she expected, she sees a man coming her way, crossing a field. Confused, she turns back to her family and instead sees a strange woman, dressed even more strangely, kneading dough on a wooden table. Hannah's confusion grows as she hears herself referred to as Chaya, and discovers that these two people believe themselves to be her Aunt Gitl and Uncle Shmuel. More unbelievably, they talk about her parents' deaths, and that she herself had nearly died, sick for weeks.

Feeling like she's in a dream she can't wake up from, she finds herself pulled into wedding festivities, which includes walking to a nearby village for the celebration. There, her dream turns into a nightmare. Hannah is slowly disappearing as Chaya is loaded onto trucks with the other villagers. Then, later, they are prodded like cattle aboard boxed railroad cars with no ventilation, and they travel, standing, for four days and nights without food or bathrooms. What follows is days, weeks, maybe months, in a Jewish concentration camp.

Jane Yolen's telling of the Holocaust is chilling. She gathered information from survivors, those heroes who remember so that the atrocities of the past will never happen again. Ms. Yolen writes in her final pages to the reader, "That heroism - to resist being dehumanized, to simply outlive one's tormentors, to practice the quiet, everyday caring for one's equally tormented neighbors. To witness. To remember. These were the only victories of the camps."

This book is incredibly powerful. The way Ms. Yolen weaves the past and present together forces the reader to make personal connections. She makes the reader think and ask questions. How could society have allowed such a thing to happen? And, more importantly, how can we assure that it will never happen again? I truly hope THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC will remain required reading in schools. Each new generation must bear the weight of those lost souls upon their heart. They must believe that such devastating events can, and did, happen. Only in believing and remembering can we move forward to a better society.

Thank you, Ms. Yolen, for this riveting and thought-provoking book.
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 7145 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Reviewed by Cana Rensberger for TeensReadToo.com

THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC by Jane Yolen is required reading at my school, as it is in many middle/junior high schools across the country. I've been meaning to read it for several years but never did, until my son read it this year as an eighth grader. He insisted I read it. How could I resist that?

Hannah is celebrating Passover Seder with her family. It's the same thing every year. Grandpa will get all worked up over old photos on TV, shaking his fist, screaming about the numbers on his arm, and Aunt Eva will calm him down as she always does, laying a hand on his arm, leading the same old Jewish prayers as Hannah mumbles along. But this year will be different. Hannah's brother, Aaron, will get to hide the afikoman, Hannah will get to taste real wine, and then she'll get to open the door to symbolically welcome in the prophet Elijah.

But when she opened that door, she had no idea just how different this year's celebration would be.

Instead of seeing the hallway in front of her as she expected, she sees a man coming her way, crossing a field. Confused, she turns back to her family and instead sees a strange woman, dressed even more strangely, kneading dough on a wooden table. Hannah's confusion grows as she hears herself referred to as Chaya, and discovers that these two people believe themselves to be her Aunt Gitl and Uncle Shmuel. More unbelievably, they talk about her parents' deaths, and that she herself had nearly died, sick for weeks.

Feeling like she's in a dream she can't wake up from, she finds herself pulled into wedding festivities, which includes walking to a nearby village for the celebration. There, her dream turns into a nightmare. Hannah is slowly disappearing as Chaya is loaded onto trucks with the other villagers. Then, later, they are prodded like cattle aboard boxed railroad cars with no ventilation, and they travel, standing, for four days and nights without food or bathrooms. What follows is days, weeks, maybe months, in a Jewish concentration camp.

Jane Yolen's telling of the Holocaust is chilling. She gathered information from survivors, those heroes who remember so that the atrocities of the past will never happen again. Ms. Yolen writes in her final pages to the reader, "That heroism - to resist being dehumanized, to simply outlive one's tormentors, to practice the quiet, everyday caring for one's equally tormented neighbors. To witness. To remember. These were the only victories of the camps."

This book is incredibly powerful. The way Ms. Yolen weaves the past and present together forces the reader to make personal connections. She makes the reader think and ask questions. How could society have allowed such a thing to happen? And, more importantly, how can we assure that it will never happen again? I truly hope THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC will remain required reading in schools. Each new generation must bear the weight of those lost souls upon their heart. They must believe that such devastating events can, and did, happen. Only in believing and remembering can we move forward to a better society.

Thank you, Ms. Yolen, for this riveting and thought-provoking book.
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 35 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I had no idea this book would turn out to be so touching. I didn't quite guess the ending (which is a surprise for me), making it all the more a good read!
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I haven't read the book but there's a very good film based on it also.
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 136 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is not just "another book on the Holocaust." A few years ago I had seen the movie "The Devil's Arithmetic," while I watched in incredulity and horror as the events unfolded. Now, as a high school teacher who studies Holocaust history and remembrance, it was time to read the book by Jane Yolen from which the movie was made.

Modern day Hannah Stern is once again bored to tears at the Passover seder, where her older relatives and grandparents reminisce about the times of the persecutions of the Jews, and the horrors of the camps during WWII. Suddenly Hannah is transported back in time to the shtetl (Jewish enclave)in Poland where these same relatives came from. Somehow she has become Chaya Abramowicz, is speaking yiddish,is the orphaned niece of the family, and is fully involved in that alternate reality. With some vague memories of the future and what is to come, we accompany Chaya as she is transported via cattlecar to a camp (which closely resembles Auschwicz)where life is lived one day at a time, one hour at a time, and finally one minute at a time (if you are alive for that day, that hour, that minute, you are still alive and there is hope for survival).

This moving novel is fast-paced and thought-provoking. For young readers and adults alike, it is a story of hope, survival, and remembrance. We must never forget the past, and it must never be allowed to happen again!
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A quick but heavy story, similar to the other book, Briar Rose (also by Jane Yolen), it blended modern times with the times of the Holocaust. This book is about a modern day girl, who did not understand her grandfather's ramblings and anger about what happened to him during the war, suddenly is transported to to the past and to a new understanding.
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 7145 more book reviews
Reviewed by Cana Rensberger for TeensReadToo.com

THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC by Jane Yolen is required reading at my school, as it is in many middle/junior high schools across the country. I've been meaning to read it for several years but never did, until my son read it this year as an eighth grader. He insisted I read it. How could I resist that?

Hannah is celebrating Passover Seder with her family. It's the same thing every year. Grandpa will get all worked up over old photos on TV, shaking his fist, screaming about the numbers on his arm, and Aunt Eva will calm him down as she always does, laying a hand on his arm, leading the same old Jewish prayers as Hannah mumbles along. But this year will be different. Hannah's brother, Aaron, will get to hide the afikoman, Hannah will get to taste real wine, and then she'll get to open the door to symbolically welcome in the prophet Elijah.

But when she opened that door, she had no idea just how different this year's celebration would be.

Instead of seeing the hallway in front of her as she expected, she sees a man coming her way, crossing a field. Confused, she turns back to her family and instead sees a strange woman, dressed even more strangely, kneading dough on a wooden table. Hannah's confusion grows as she hears herself referred to as Chaya, and discovers that these two people believe themselves to be her Aunt Gitl and Uncle Shmuel. More unbelievably, they talk about her parents' deaths, and that she herself had nearly died, sick for weeks.

Feeling like she's in a dream she can't wake up from, she finds herself pulled into wedding festivities, which includes walking to a nearby village for the celebration. There, her dream turns into a nightmare. Hannah is slowly disappearing as Chaya is loaded onto trucks with the other villagers. Then, later, they are prodded like cattle aboard boxed railroad cars with no ventilation, and they travel, standing, for four days and nights without food or bathrooms. What follows is days, weeks, maybe months, in a Jewish concentration camp.

Jane Yolen's telling of the Holocaust is chilling. She gathered information from survivors, those heroes who remember so that the atrocities of the past will never happen again. Ms. Yolen writes in her final pages to the reader, "That heroism - to resist being dehumanized, to simply outlive one's tormentors, to practice the quiet, everyday caring for one's equally tormented neighbors. To witness. To remember. These were the only victories of the camps."

This book is incredibly powerful. The way Ms. Yolen weaves the past and present together forces the reader to make personal connections. She makes the reader think and ask questions. How could society have allowed such a thing to happen? And, more importantly, how can we assure that it will never happen again? I truly hope THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC will remain required reading in schools. Each new generation must bear the weight of those lost souls upon their heart. They must believe that such devastating events can, and did, happen. Only in believing and remembering can we move forward to a better society.

Thank you, Ms. Yolen, for this riveting and thought-provoking book.
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 12 more book reviews
so scary but so good! good for ages 10 and up
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 1524 more book reviews
This is supposed to be a YA title, but it is definitely suitable for adults. A coming-of-age story that bites!

From back of book: "I know where they're taking us."
Hanna dreads going to her family's Passover Seder. Her relatives always tell the same stories, and Hanna's tired of hearing them talk about the past. But when she opens the front door to symbolically welcome the prophet Elijah, she's transported to a Polish village--and the year 1942. Why is she there, and who is this 'Chaya' that everyone seems to think she is? Just as she begins to unravel the mystery, Nazi soldiers come to take everyone in the village away. And only Hannah knows the unspeakable horrors that await.
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 218 more book reviews
You can imagine the description of contents on the back of this book tells all and you already know what will happen etc. but let me tell you, I have read a lot of books about the Second World War and the Holocaust. Hard facts, peoples destiny during those times.
This book is fiction told by a author with Jewish descent, thinking it is time to let go and no longer remember at any holiday or occasion what happend in the past.
She writes what most people of the second generation past the second World War feel, think and live. Most people are sick of hearing of it, sick of being blamed for what their ancestors did, sick of paying and sick of still wearing the invisible sign of being a German. I know that because I am German and had a lot of discussions with people from other countries.

So it is quite fantastic and emotional that a jewish author picks up this high sensible topic to write a book why people are sick of remembering and why it is important not to forget.

There is this little girl Hannah, who is bored and rebellious with all this jewish rituals every year. She opens a door and is transported into the past. Not any past, it is the past of her own ancestors and a journey that ends in a concentration camp and the gas chamber.

It remembered me that when no one´s left to remember mankind, there won´t be someone who´s going to protect us against the same happening again and to tell us what can happen all over the world when there´s one person with the ability to influence a whole nation and more.
reviewed The Devil's Arithmetic (Puffin Modern Classics) on + 5 more book reviews
This is a great book for people of any age. The story of the holocaust, told from a child's point of view, is a great story.