Preferred Style:

Mobile: No images
Low Quality (Default): Small Images
High Quality: Large images, shadows, colors. Do not attempt on dial-up.

If you have a recommendation for a new color scheme, please tell us about it via the Contact Us page.

The Winged Watchman

by Hilda Van Stockum

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: The Winged Watchman by Hilda Van Stockum. Originally published in 1962. Reprinted as part of Bethlehem Books "Living History Library." Paperback, $12.95. Please support by buying this program from our ChristianBookDistributors link or Amazon affiliate link.

Hilda Van Stockum's classic book on the Nazi occupation of Holland is an outstanding title to consider for World War II studies for late elementary and middle school ages. "The Winged Watchman," a large windmill that drains the lowlands for farming, is the primary setting for this tale of the Verhagen family, mill keepers, and their neighbors. While the horrors of the war -- the Holocaust, concentration camps, Nazi brutality -- are mentioned, they are not focused upon. Rather, Christian faith, tenacity, and doing what is right are the points stressed. Good and evil are clearly delineated, and despite many trials, the family demonstrates Christian values from which we can all learn.

With 21 chapters and 191 pages, the story has a quick moving plot and only slight character development. Exciting escapades are offset with the reality of the difficulties of daily living -- lack of food and basic necessities. The two Verhagen boys, aged 10 and 14, are given the opportunity to help in "underground" activities, and other characters illustrate both active and passive reactions to the occupation. The effect of the war on children and the elderly in the book is particularly moving.

Recommendation: The Winged Watchman offers a realistic glimpse into the issues of average people during World War II without focusing on the brutal, negative aspects as so many of today's books do. Hilda Van Stockum's book is the right level for the recommended "ages 10 and up" and offers many opportunities for further discussion of moral issues and our response to them. I offer a hearty recommendation that parents and children read and discuss this book together. resources related to this review:'s History section
For living books, links, and ideas for studying World War II.

Find more helpful reviews on's Review Page Index!

Reviews represent the opinions of the authors rather than the views of