The Buried Crown

Written by Ally Sherrick
Review by Valerie Loh

1940: Londoner, Charlie, has placed his young brother in the care of a farmer near the airbase where he is training to become a pilot. The threat of an imminent Nazi invasion is as real as the death of their parents. The farmer is a bully, both to his dog and to George; the friendship between boy and beast grows.

Nearby a German Jewish girl, Kitty, rescued on the Kindertransport, lives peacefully with her archaeologist grandfather not far from an ancient burial ground that hides a treasure Hitler craves. When George and the dog, Spud, finally escape from the farm, a fast-paced and often traumatic adventure begins.

The line between the historic detail of the period, from the Nazi threat and hatred of the Jews, to the fictional existence of a magical and mythical crown that can change the outcome of the war, is an interesting one. It should serve to encourage questions from young minds. A section ‘About the Book’ provides many answers.

Friendship and loyalty feature strongly throughout this story as well as the need to stand up to bullies: personal or political. The heartache of loss, the importance of grieving, and the value placed on family shines through both George’s and Kitty’s horrendous young experiences of life. Racial stereotyping and hatred are also revealed, as the harsh life of a refugee is laid bare, when Kitty and her grandfather are still perceived by some to be Germans/Nazis rather than victims of a vicious dictator.

History, runes, ravens, and lost treasures abound as this skilfully woven tale of reality and fiction ultimately delivers a very satisfying conclusion. A highly recommended read. Age 9+