Captain Rosalie
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Captain Rosalie

Timothee de Fombelle, Isabelle Arsenault, Sam Gordon

An evocative, beautifully imagined and heart-wrenching wartime story by celebrated author Timothee de Fombelle.   

In this astonishingly-drawn wartime story, a little girl called Rosalie is a captain on a very secret mission - a mission to learn how to read.

Mother reads often to Rosalie, especially when Father sends them letters from the front line describing the forest in the distance, the churned-up soil and the soldiers hiding in holes. But as Rosalie gets further along in her mission and begins to piece together the words in her father’s letters, the truth about the consequences of war are finally and irrevocably revealed.

Review

This is a story about a brave and determined young girl named Rosalie, aka Captain Rosalie, who’s on a secret mission. Set against the backdrop of World War I, we meet five-year-old Rosalie living a simple life of small pleasures with her mother. Rosalie’s father is a soldier away at war and she barely knows him except for the letters he sends home. Letters that draw her mother away, enveloping her in wistful musings and distant longing.

A quiet, unspoken rebellion builds and Rosalie seems intent on a purpose that she holds secret. Rosalie’s mother drops her each morning at the school gate on her way to the weapons factory where she works long hours until nightfall. At school, Rosalie is too young to join the class so is set up at the back of the classroom where she sits quietly with paper and pencils. But Rosalie has a plan, and no-one will doubt her bravery and fortitude when life is irrevocably changed by the arrival of a black-edged letter.

Beautifully told and sensitively brought to life through the illustrations, this story is full of heart.


Natalie Platten is the assistant manager and children’s book buyer at Readings Doncaster.

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