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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Polly Mae: The Old Suitcase is an historical adventure novel for children and preteens written by Julie Hodgson. Polly Mae was in trouble -- again -- for pulling that old cat's tail. She wasn't trying to hurt Mrs. Donkin's cat, but it was constantly getting in her way. This time, he had been sitting on the tree she was planning to climb, so it was natural that she'd want him to leave. Mrs. Donkin had an evil reputation with all the kids in the neighborhood, but she especially enjoyed complaining about and tormenting Polly Mae, who, unfortunately, lived next door. Polly Mae sat upstairs in her bedroom and watched Mrs. Donkin as she gesticulated and complained to Polly's mom. She had been banished to her room until teatime, but Polly Mae knew that a sunny, warm day was not something you wasted. And she had a special way of escaping without notice all planned. Moving her collection of keepsakes from the windowsill, she carefully climbed out of the window and slid down the drainpipe. She headed for the beach, which had any number of perfect places for hiding out when you should be in your bedroom. Her best friend, William, was out there as well. He suggested they look for treasure, which made Polly Mae laugh. Treasure? Here? The two walked along until they reached the old, abandoned ice cream shack, which was a lot of fun to explore in a creepy sort of way. Following a strange, scratching noise, Polly discovered a hole in the wall and starting pulling out all manner of discarded objects from the past; then she felt a handle, and, pulling hard, retrieved an old and dusty locked suitcase. They had found treasure after all.
Julie Hodgson's historical adventure novel for children and preteens, Polly Mae: The Old Suitcase, stars a most intriguing preteen character who climbs trees and drainpipes with ease and has no qualms about reaching deep into spaces between the walls in an abandoned, spooky building in her search for treasure. I loved following Polly Mae as she’s guided by her irrepressible curiosity and discovers a window into the past. Hodgson's story shares the plight of those displaced by the Holocaust and Nazi Germany's invasion of Poland with young readers in an original and effective way as Polly and her father use the contents of the suitcase to track down and unite a family separated during the war. Along the way, readers get to share in a most marvelous road trip with Polly and her dad, complete with strawberry milkshakes, and an exciting visit to Poland. I had a grand time reading Polly Mae: The Old Suitcase and most highly recommend it as a rousing action and adventure novel that educates as it entertains.