World War II Tales, 3: The Barrel Burglary

Written by Terry Deary
Review by Geoffrey Harfield

The Barrel Burglary is one of a series of World War II tales of ‘exciting, funny stories based on true historical events’.

In The Barrel Burglary, the Home Guard and two boys, Jack and Tommy, do their bit for the war effort. Together with Jack’s granddad, the boys believe that a local treacle factory, which looks like an oil dump, is in danger of being bombed, putting everyone in Sunderland at risk. Soon the boys find themselves involved in a daring plan to remove any empty treacle barrels looking like oil drums to save both the factory and the town from bombing. The barrels are then used as sand containers for Fire Precautions.

The Barrel Burglary is not only an easy read for a reviewer (I well remember similar naughtiness with my friend Colin on the way home from Cubs in 1943), it is also a small, easy-to-read book for children of 7 and over. It gives children a good view of the war as it affected families, as well as looking at the everyday deprivations of living in an industrial town like Sunderland in war-time. The book is clearly illustrated with lively line drawings by James de la Rue, and I highly recommend it.