This is one of those books that stays with you long after you have read it.
Set in Poland in 1939, Anna is only seven when the Germans take her father, leaving her alone. Soon after, she meets the Swallow Man, a magical stranger who can call the birds from the trees, and, with a child's logic, she decides to follow him.
Thus begins their relationship and they travel together through the perils created by war, changing names and languages to adapt to the circumstances in which they find themselves, until...
But I won't even hint at the conclusion; that's for you to discover for yourself.
Language is at the heart of this book. Anna's father is a linguist and has brought his daughter up to be multi-lingual; to love the sound of words; to relate to language as if it were alive. Savit's choice of words to tell his story are equally special. He conveys a sense of calm amid the chaos, a lyrical quality that creates such atmosphere. Often understated, the text is often all the more moving for this. Quite simply, it is beautifully written.
Personally, I would offer this one to older children who could fully appreciate it as it raises many questions- “Questions are more valuable than answers.”.
Definitely one for JAB to read and discuss- and enjoy!