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Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan

February 11, 2010

Childrens Book Review of Snow Treasure

Fact based fiction about the children of a Norwegian village in the early 1940’s. This is the best kind of adventure for girls and boys because it is full of true courage and heroism. The story reads as fiction, but it is based on the true account of how the citizens of a small Norwegian fishing village snuck tons of gold bullion out of Norway during the German occupation of World War II.

As German troops began to occupy the surrounding areas, the people of Lundstrom devise a plan to get the country’s gold out of Norway to safety in the U.S. Adults are watched with suspicion so it is decided to use the children to smuggle the gold from a secret hiding place in the mountains to a commercial fishing boat hidden in the endless fjords of the coast.

Peter is one of the older boys and is selected as the leader of the children. The children are instructed to obey Peter’s commands, and he takes on his responsibilities with humility and resolve. Peter shows himself to be a true leader, ready to sacrifice and take risks for the other children and for his country.

Living close to the Arctic Circle, sleds, toboggans and sleighs are a common mode of transportation for both work and play. To see large groups of children taking day long sled rides is not unusual. The German troops take no notice of the children as, over the course of a few months, they secretly transport the gold to the hidden ship.

During the course of the story Peter is captured. The account of his capture, imprisonment and escape are exciting and a little frightening. No real harm comes to him, however, as a fellow prisoner of war helps him escape.

The account seems almost fanciful in the way the children carry out their duties with almost no adult help. But again, this is a true story and the people of the village saw this as their only hope. The story reflects a time and culture in which children are responsible and resourceful in a way not usually seen in our day and culture.


German troops are depicted as somewhat cruel and their behavior towards the Norwegians is condescending and arrogant. These issues would need to be put into their historical context.

The subject of war is very much a part of the story.

The interrogation of one of the girls by the commanding German officer, and subsequent capture of Peter, is a little frightening. Pgs 160-169.

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