Lizzie and the Lost Baby by Cheryl Blackford

Goodreads Synopsis

Cheryl Blackford's debut novel is set in England during World War II and told from the dual perspectives of ten-year-old Lizzie, a homesick girl evacuated from bomb-blitzed Hull to the remote Yorkshire valley, and Elijah, a local gypsy boy. When Lizzie discovers an abandoned baby, her dangerous friendship with Elijah is put to the test. Will Lizzie be able to find the baby's parents? And if she does, can she and Elijah remain friends in a world clouded by prejudice and fear?


Lizzie and the Lost Baby delves into an issue of prejudice that has been haunting Europe for centuries, but is not often discussed. Gypsies have been treated with disdain since medieval times, sometimes because of wrongs they have committed, but other times simply because of who they are. In the case of Elijah's family, it seems the prejudice is due more to who they are than their actions. The way the village folk deal with his family is reminiscent of the treatment of African Americans in the United States received before the civil rights movement. It was refreshing to read a novel acknowledging this problem. (The only other story I can think of off the top of my head that addresses this is The Hunchback of Notre Dame.) Have you read any books that have handled this issue well? 

Despite the interesting topic, the character development throughout the entire book is poor. I found myself having a difficult time remaining interested in any of the characters and their problems, because they were so one-dimensional. Frankly, I was bored with this book. I first learned about Lizzie and the Lost Baby from a webinar and was quite intrigued. A book addressing prejudice against gypsies and displaced English children during the Blitz sounded like an engaging read for this history buff. Unfortunately, even my love for history could not overcome the lack of magic in this forgettable novel.

Disclosure: I read an Advanced Reader Copy received from the publisher.

What are your favorite current middle grade novels set in WWII?


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