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Author:  Morris Gleitzman

Once I escaped from an orphanage to find my Mum and Dad.

Once I saved a girl called Zelda from a burning house.

Once I made a Nazi with toothache laugh.

My name is Felix.

This is my story.

Your rating: None Average: 4.6 (73 votes)


Apr 11,2017
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   Once is a novel by Morris Gleitzman, a 63 year-old English-born Australian author. Once is about a Jewish boy named Felix. This book is set in Poland and Germany, in the year 1942. He is on a mission to find his book-keeper parents after he sees Nazis burning books at a Catholic orphanage where he stays. Felix has two secrets; he’s Jewish and both his parents are alive. His parents had promised him that one day they would come back for him and that they would be a family again. They had left him because they could not afford to keep him. It’s been three years and eight months and Felix’s parents have still not showed up. When he got a whole carrot in his soup, he knew it was a message from his parents. He decided to leave the orphanage in search of his parents, but little did he know the danger that lies ahead. The Nazis. The Germans are under Hitler’s control and are rounding up Jews to send them to Death camps. On his journey he meets several different people including Zelda, a girl he rescued from a house fire, a German soldier with a toothache and Barney the dentist.

   Morris Gleitzman states that when he stared planning Once he had no idea that a small polish Jewish boy would take him on the writing journey of his life. He just wanted to write a story about friendship, a friendship between two young people who can’t believe their luck because they’ve found what they needed the most, a true friend. The author states that he didn’t want the story to be too safe and cozy, he wanted the story to be realistic. He wanted to portray the true meaning of friendship; that friends stick together through tough times. Gleitzman knew that all his characters were going to go on a journey of self-discovery as were all the readers. All the characters would discover that you don’t need money or heroic deeds or even an education to experience this special gift, just that special person.

   To test the boundaries of friendship, he placed two characters in the most unfriendly setting humanly possible; war. During war everyone helps themselves, one must fight for survival. From 1939 to 1945, Adolf Hitler had tried to destroy all the Jewish people in Europe. The Nazis were known as those who supported his violent and irrational approach. He had murdered six million Jews, one and a half million of those were children. Hitler and the Nazis did not only kill Jews but also those who offered to help them, whether it be offering them food, shelter or simply pointing them in the right direction. We call this time of ongoing bloodshed, the Holocaust.

   Gleitzman’s grandfather was a Polish Jew but had left decades before the Holocaust.  However, many of his family members stayed in Poland and most of them were killed by the Nazis. This made Once more like a personal journal and less like a novel. Gleitzman says that when he went to Poland for the first time, he met Felix. He met Felix in his imagination like all his other characters but something about Felix seemed so real. “He stood as an ambassador for so many real children, for so many young lives shattered.” The story is about the worst, we are capable of as species and the best, side by side. Gleitzman also wanted to remind the readers that the history isn’t something alien, something distant. History is the day to day lives of ordinary people, this is why each chapter in the book starts in the past tense. Then after a couple of sentences it goes back to the present tense.

   Years after the Holocaust, there was a strongly-held view that if you hadn’t experienced it, you shouldn’t try to write about it. Gleitzman did not agree with this and wrote Once to inform young people what the Holocaust really was, much worse than we thought. This novel tells us more than just Felix’s story. It is an amazingly powerful and tense account of what people would have felt and experienced when the Nazis were in power. This novel is the suffering of six million people in 150 pages. “Everybody deserves to have something good in their life at least once. I have. More than once"



Mar 15,2017

Where would i be without this book?! Not only this book but the whole series in genreal is a rollercoaster of emotions of all of us readers! To anyone who is intrested in the holocaust and how it would effect a young boy at the age of 10 read this book now! The book is also quite easy to understand, so you don't have to be the smartest kid in the class to understand the storyline of this book which I love!


Over all by far one of the best series I've ever read and reccomend this to anyone and everyone!

Feb 23,2017
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anonymous (not verified)

This book is so beautifully crafted and it touches your heart.

This book is heart-breaking. I don't mean what happens chapter to chapter, I mean the overall feel of the book left me with a gloomy mood fo days. I think this book really hits you hard, especially because it's told by a very young boy affected by Nazi Germany.

Felix is one of my all time favourite characaters.

If you haven't read this yet, it's a must :-)

Aug 02,2016
This review is a spoiler. View anyway?

Brief summary:

This book is about a guy that was in an orphanage in the mountain and he is looking for his parents that he thought were alive still. His name is Felix and he is a story writer. He met this little girl named Zelda and she found out eventually that her parents died when their house was burnt down. She was in a cabbage field when they met. Felix and Zelda went with each other everywhere they went. They were caught by the Nazis and were taken onto a train.

Nov 28,2015

This book is the bomb. Through all the discriptive words and sentences that make up the story give it a glossy flow. The front cover and back cover catches your attention in a glance. The storyline is just....boom! Morris Gleitzeman is one of my favourite author. It is a must read from me, yes

Aug 26,2015

Once Book Review


Book Name: “Once”

Genre: War

Author: Morris Gleitzman

“Once” is about a boy who finds a girl and is hiding from the Nazis until they run away.

I think “Once” is a good read if you are into war related books. It is a book I like to read every now and then it is that good and it is a book that as soon as you start reading it you will be hooked to it. It may offend some people seeing as how it is about Hitler and the Nazis but it is entertaining.


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