“Firestorm” by Joan Hiatt Harlow

Simon & Schuster, 2010

This book has many similarities to Dickens’ “Oliver Twist,” except that the Oliver-like orphan is female, as well as the Fagin-type leader of an all female gang of thieves.

The author went into details about the hard life of orphans in the 1870’s which allows readers to have the opportunity to understand what life was like for orphaned children in the past. Perhaps it may lead them to feel a deeper appreciation for what they have in the 21st century. The Afterword was also a good source of information about the Great Chicago Fire.

I didn’t like that it was supposed to have been set during the Great Chicago Fire, yet almost three quarters of the book passed before anything even resembling this historical event began to take place.

This is a good read for middle schoolers and more mature elementary school readers.

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