'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 14 March 2021

Review: The Missing

Michael Rosen was the UK Children's Laureate from 2007 to 2009. He's responsible for books like We're Going on a Bear Hunt, What is Poetry?, A Great Big Cuddle, and many others.

The Missing is 'the true story of [his] family in World War II'. It's a very personal and moving book.

Michael grew up hearing only that his paternal great-uncles had been 'there' before World War II, but not afterwards. 

No one could tell him what happened to them.

As an adult, Michael began seriously searching for information. He asked questions, travelled, and met American cousins he'd not known before. 

Over the course of many years he uncovered the truth, and in The Missing, he shares the story of his journey to discover what happened to the relatives who had disappeared.

This is a family history with a difference. It's a memoir that pays tribute to his family, who are Jewish, and remembers those who died in concentration camps during the Holocaust of the Second World War. 

The book is a combination of poems that Michael Rosen wrote over the years, and a narrative that begins in his childhood, follows him through adulthood, and finishes with insights into the fate of his great-uncles, including those discovered as he was in the final throes of writing. 

The text of The Missing is succinct, and language and explanations simple so that readers of all ages can be in no doubt about what happened. It's spare, like the information he uncovers and pieces together.

Michael Rosen sees parallels in the world today, and wants us all to reflect on the plight of refugees.

With a serious and heartbreaking subject, The Missing is a prompt for much thought and discussion, including the author's desire for readers to be hopeful about the future.

You can watch the video below as Michael Rosen himself introduces The Missing.

Title: The Missing
Author: Michael Rosen
Publisher: Walker Books, $ 22.99
Publication Date: March 2020
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781406386752
For ages: 10+
Type:  Junior Non-Fiction