The Last Stork of Summer

Written by Mary Brigid Surber
Review by Richard Tearle

Ten-year-old Ewa’s only crime is that she is Polish. When Germany invade her country in 1939 she is shipped off to a work camp and evaluated as ‘not German enough’. She is destined to spend the war incarcerated, torn apart from her parents and at the mercy of the German soldiers who guard her and her unfortunate companions. The stork is an important symbol in Polish culture and Ewa’s love and knowledge of the bird help her through desperate times.

Mary Brigid Surber has written an absorbing story telling of the horrors and cruelty of war, yet without resorting to unnecessary graphic detail. Ewa is young, but sensible and the reader shares her hopes and despairs, thoughts and memories of good times before the war.

There is one instance of bad formatting which may be needed to be looked at and my only other problem is with the size of the book. In a way, no more need be said, though perhaps more secret and whispered conversations could be included, but some may consider that it is slightly overpriced for the short length. The cover – a silhouette of two storks in their nest atop a tall tree – is simple, though gives no insight to the main subject matter. However, it is in keeping with the story. Apart from the comments above, I recommend this as a well-written and moving story.