“Amanda in Holland” is Terrific!

I’m the book guru at school.  That’s what they call me.  Finding a good children’s book is one of my greatest pleasures, next to reading aloud to children.  Teachers and parents lean on me for good books.  The storyline of “Amanda in Holland, Missing in Action” was intriguing to me – adventure, history, WWII, Anne Frank… and more.  A few months ago I ordered the book.  I was so excited!

Darlene Foster is the author, and she did not disappoint.  I was enveloped in Holland with Amanda.  I could not put the book down.

Here’s what Amazon says:

Amanda is in Holland to see the tulips with her best friend, Leah. They travel the canals of Amsterdam, visit Anne Frank House, check out windmills, tour a wooden shoe factory, and take many pictures of the amazing flowers of Keukenhof Gardens. She is keen to find out what happened to her great uncle who never returned from WWII and was declared missing in action. What she doesn’t expect to find and fall in love with is Joey, an abandoned puppy. While trying to find a home for him, she meets Jan, a Dutch boy who offers to help, a suspicious gardener, a strange woman on a bicycle, and an overprotective goose named Gerald.

This paints a picture of the storyline, but it fails to capture the emotion and excitement and history that happens along the way.  When Amanda arrives in Holland to spend a vacation with her best friend Leah, she finds Joey the puppy abandoned in a box by a garbage can.  This begins a series of events that include stolen prized tulips and selling animals from puppy farms.  Amanda meets many characters along the way, including Jan and his grandmother and great grandmother.  Her suspicions are often cause for more adventure, and therefore more depth into the book’s characters.  Ingrid, Tom, Astrid, Helga, and even Gerald the goose give Amanda clues to uncovering the stolen tulip bulbs and puppy farms.  They come to life in the book, making Amanda’s adventures dangerous.

Here’s the best part: woven in between Amanda’s terrific adventures are important stories in history, most notably the Anne Frank House, and the Canadian Army rescuing the people of Holland from the Nazis at the end of WWII.  Amanda is from Canada.  One of her relatives was missing in action, and she uncovers information.

Without giving away the story, I can tell you that I was on the edge of my seat throughout the book.  Nancy Drew, move over!


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease's bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
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80 Responses to “Amanda in Holland” is Terrific!

  1. Lokesh Sastya says:

    What about the character Ingrid?

  2. Norah says:

    What a great review. I haven’t read it yet, Jennie, but I’m looking forward to it. I’ve a few more on my Kindle to read first.

  3. beth says:

    It sounds exciting!

  4. beetleypete says:

    Love to read of your enthusiasm and excitement for Darlene’s book, Jennie. Two mainstays of our great blogging community coming together!
    Best wishes, Pete.

  5. quiall says:

    It sounds absolutely wonderful! I’m sure the children will love it.

  6. Darlene says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. Tears of joy!! I am so pleased that you enjoyed the story and got it! Thank you so much, Jennie.

  7. Ritu says:

    Still haven’t read Darlene’s books, but I so want to!

  8. willedare says:

    Sounds great. I admire that the author is keeping vital history alive in the minds of a new generations of readers…

  9. Terrific review, Jennie! Amanda’s adventures continue to come alive for readers thanks to the wonderful writing of talented author Darlene Foster! I highly recommend this wonderful series!!

  10. sounds like a great story. Have you read other Amanda travels books? It looks like it would be a great history based chapter book series.

    • Jennie says:

      I’ve also read Amanda in Alberta and enjoyed the book. I think you’re right; the series is history and also adventure based. What’s not to like? 🙂

  11. Orvillewrong says:

    I think you made the perfect choice!

  12. This book sounds like a real feather in Darlene’s cap. Well done, Darlene.

  13. Nice review Jennie! I’ve only read Darlene’s upcoming Amanda in Malta, but as you know, I loved it!

  14. This is a wonderful review of Amanda in Holland, Jennie. I love the adventure part and the history part of this book. We’ve visited the Anne Frank House, saw the room behind the bookcase where she hid, and saw the original diary. It was quite a touching moment.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Miriam. I remember reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” when I was a teenager. I can only imagine how moving it must be to see the house. I’m glad that Darlene’s book has inspired young readers to read about Anne Frank. Keeping history alive is important.

  15. Dan Antion says:

    It sounds like a great story, Jennie.

  16. petespringerauthor says:

    I’m happy for Darlene and all the success she has found with her Amanda series. It really is a cool way for kids to learn history.

  17. A ringing endorsement for Darlene’s book from a master teacher! I’m so happy for her!!

  18. Carla says:

    I just read Amanda in Malta and am looking forward to read the rest of this series. I think it is a good one and will be recommending it to my grandkid’s school.

    • Jennie says:

      I have not read her new one. My TBR list so long. The series is adventure packed, always a draw for young readers. I really liked this book. Thanks, Carla.

  19. Oh my! This could be the book that unlocks the wonders and exhilaration of mysteries to young children! There was one book when I was in 4th grade that did it for me. It was a chapter book read out loud by my teacher. I wish I could remember the title as well as the tale! In the end, I’ve given up trying to remember thinking it will come to me someday from my archives.

    You’ve done it again and hit the nerve that loves children’s books and mysteries. I will put this one on my list to read. You’re a treasure, Jennie. I wish my children and grandsons had you for a preschool teacher.

    • Jennie says:

      Deborah, this is so wonderful! I feel the same way you do, ‘unlocking the wonders and exhilaration of mysteries to young children’. Yes! And this a book that does it. I grew up with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, which was great adventure and mystery…. but there wasn’t history in those books. This one has it all.

      For the book you remember in 4th grade, was it “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” (children trapped in the Metropolitan Museum of Art) or “The Egypt Game” or “Sign of the Beaver” (a boy travels with his dad to stake out their new home in New England. Dad goes back to get the family but does not return. Indians are there. This book is one of my favorites.)

      Thank you so much for your kind words! I, too, wish I’d had your children and grandchildren in my class. 🙂

  20. Sounds an exciting read Jennie and I am certain if you were reading aloud to your class, it would be extra special 🙂

  21. frenchc1955 says:

    Hi Jennie, thank you for the excellent review!

  22. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:

    Here is a wonderful review from Jennie, the extraordinary teacher!

  23. Hi Jennie, I also enjoyed this particular book of Darlene’s and I have recently read Amanda in Malta which is equally enjoyable. Have a wonderful weekend.

  24. Hmm… sounds like we are in Newbery Award territory?

  25. Annika Perry says:

    Jennie, I still have my Nancy Drew books and loved them as young – some barely holding together! Darlene’s series sounds terrific and I look forward to starting with her latest one next week!

  26. Pingback: “Amanda in Holland” is Terrific! – 9jaglogist

  27. This entire series is delightful.

  28. I am sure the pupils will never forget all the wonderful stories, written by Darlene. It’s a shame that I missed something like that in my childhood. xx

  29. i miss reading books

  30. I totally agree, Jennie. This was the first Amanda book I read and I loved it. I traveled to Holland as an 11 year old to spend a month with my grandparents, and the book was like a trip down memory lane. Fun and informative. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Congrats to Darlene.

    • Jennie says:

      I’m so glad you loved it, too. The fact that it brought back great childhood memories for you speaks volumes! Thanks so much, Diana.

  31. Darlene says:

    Reblogged this on Darlene Foster's Blog and commented:
    With all the hype about my latest book, I mustn’t forget Amanda’s other adventures. Here is an awesome review of Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action by one of my favourite teachers! If you read Jennie’s blog posts you will wish you were back in school.

  32. Children’s literature does not disappoint. Thank you for the reminder! Be well and a Happy Mother’s Day to you this Sunday! 🙂

  33. Annika Perry says:

    Jennie, a wonderful review and having just finished Amanda in Malta I see this will have to be my next in the series! Darlene has a unusual flair for blending the historical with a terrific mystery!

  34. What a great review Jennie!!

  35. srbottch says:

    What age level would you recommend, Jennie? Who knows, I might enjoy it👍

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