Kid’s Book Review: Code Name Kingfisher

Kid’s Book Review: Code Name Kingfisher

About the Book and Author

Holland, 1942. The world is at war and as the Nazis’ power grows, Jewish families are in terrible danger. Twelve-year-old Mila and her older sister Hannie are sent to live with a family in another city with new identities and the strict instruction not to tell anyone that they are Jewish.

Hannie, determined to fight back, is swept into the Dutch resistance as an undercover agent: Code Name Kingfisher. And though Mila does her best to make friends and keep out of trouble, there is danger at every turn and the sisters are soon left questioning who they can trust…

Code Name Kingfisher cover
Liz Kessler author

Liz Kessler is the author of twenty-three books for children and young adults including When the World Was Ours (Simon & Schuster).

Her books range from Early Readers to books for Young Adults and include the internationally best-selling series about half-mermaid Emily Windsnap. She has an MA in Novel Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University. Please visit her website for more information.

Book Review

it is like a history lesson, only more thrilling!

This book is really two stories that are linked by an elderly character, known as Bubbe in the present day scenario but who is called Mila when she is younger. The story switches between the two time-frames so it is partly historic and partly contemporary. I liked this variety.

There is a girl in the modern story who is about my age called Liv. I could relate to some of the issues she faces (at school and with her family) and that kept me interested.

The flash-backs are set in Holland during the Second World War when Mila was a girl. Mila and her older sister Hannie are Jewish refugees living with another family and using different identities to keep them safe. Their parents got left behind and risk being captured by the Nazis so they worry about what is happening to them. After a while Hannie wants to do more than lie-low so she accepts an offer to start working with the Resistance. She goes on secret missions that are dangerous and this part of the story is really tense and exciting.

As I have a big sister I can totally understand how the tension grew between the Hannie and Mila when Mila feels left out. Hannie does not tell Mila what she is doing and where she is going. Misunderstanding the need for secrecy Mila feels sad, cross and is jealous. Ultimately, this breakdown backfires but I don’t want to explain what happens as it will spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.

I sympathise with Mila and admire Hannie’s courage and hope I would be as brave as she is if I were faced with a similar situation. Reading the book made me think about other war zones in the world where children and young people are not safe. Those children who fear for their lives and may be also separated from their parents like Mila was. This experience is not just history, unfortunately it is some poeple’s reality.

I like the happy ending, especially when Liv and her grandmother create a special bond and also when Liv makes a new friend. After the bullying she faced at the beginning of the story she learns to recognise the qualities of a true friend and is happier.

In summary, this book is so much more than a historical story. I would especially recommend it to anyone who is interested in finding out more about the Second World War because it is so believable it is like a history lesson, only more thrilling!

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Reviewer Profile

  • Name: Molly
  • Age: 11 years
  • Likes: Skiing, netball and reading
  • Dislikes: Early mornings and fried eggs
  • Favourite Book: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
  • Favourite Song: anything by Taylor Swift
  • Favourite Film: Barbie