Nine Open Arms

Nine Open ArmsA family of nine – three sisters, four brothers, their ever-optimistic father, and their strong-tongued grandmother Oma Mei – move into a run-down, mysterious brick house outside a small village in the province of Limburg, the Netherlands, in 1937. The house stands as long as nine open arms. The first and third parts of the story are narrated by eleven-year-old Fing, who tells of their new school, her father’s money-making schemes, family relationships, “tragical tragedy”, and the mysterious button-chewer, Oompah Hatsi. The middle part, narrated by Oma Mei, is set in the 1860s, and tells the story of the lovers Charley Bottletop and Nienevee, the traveler girl. By the end of this unique Dutch import, all the secrets are revealed and they neatly and believably click into place. Some Dutch words have been left untranslated and are defined in a Slang Words and Character List. A Map and Translator’s Note are also included in this well-crafted, challenging, and quirky story about storytelling. mjw
Title: Nine Open Arms
Author: Benny Lindelauf
Illustrator
: Dasha Tolstikova
Publisher
: Enchanted Lion Books, New York
Copyright
: 2014
Original Language
: Dutch
Translator
: John Nieuwenhuizen
Original Title
: Negen Open Armen
Original Publisher
: Em. Querido’s Uitgeverij B.V.
Original Copyright
: 2004
ISBN
: 978-1-59270-146-9
Hardcover pages
: 264
Age range
: 9 up
Genre
: Historical fiction, Mystery
Book setting
: Limburg, The Netherlands
Author’s ethnicity
: Dutch
Author’s residence
: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Translator’s ethnicity
: Dutch
Translator’s residence
: Australia
Awards
: 2015 Mildred L. Batchelder Award
Subjects
: Dwellings, Family life, Grandmothers, Mystery, Romanies, Single-parent families, Sisters

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