I had been looking forward to going to France in the Easter holidays for weeks. Admittedly it meant going with Mum and her annoying, yuckily young, French boyfriend, Almond. But I knew we would be staying at Almond’s parents’ place: A CHATEAU! Everyone knows ‘chat’ means ‘cat’ in French – so I couldn’t wait… 2 whole weeks in a houseful of cats! I love animals!
Tragically things NEVER work out as you expect. Instead of a houseful of cats it turned out to be a houseful of Almond’s annoying, totally weird French family. Before I had time to squeak ‘murder,’ I was on the ghastly trail of a heartless criminal. Could I, Polly Price, uncover the truth? Well – not if I was the chief suspect. And not if I starved to death trying to find my way through long, murky corridors to breakfast. I knew I was in a race against time. And I didn’t even have a watch.
Polly Price didn’t think it was possible for her actress mother, Arabella Diamonte, to be any more embarrassing than on the trip to San Francisco last summer. That is, until she agrees to take part in a television program called Celebrity Home Watch and a camera crew arrives at their home to film. Her mother lacks volume control at the best of times, so this is truly a reality TV nightmare—with no escape for Polly!
Polly Price is so embarrassed by her actor mother, who loves to draw attention to herself and hog the limelight. Now Polly’s worst nightmare has come true as her mother heads to America to appear in a play and Polly has to go with her! Not only that, but she’s forced to hang around with the young stars of the show, who aren’t exactly lining up to be her friends.
Anne Frank, her parents, sister, another family, and an older gentleman were Jews in the Netherlands during the German occupation of World War II. These eight people hid in a secret alcove above a factory. Anne had a friend who listened to all her thoughts during the next two years. “Kitty” was her diary.
The Franks had lived in Germany. As the anti-Semitism sentiment took hold in that country, he and his wife left everything and moved their daughters to the Netherlands. In a few years they were not safe there, either. Finally, after Mr. Frank was called to report to the Germans, they went into hiding in the “Secret Annexe”. The Von Daan family joined them since the two men were business partners, and later, they included a dentist, Mr. Deusel.
Anne’s parents gave her Kitty on her birthday in 1942. Anne started writing in it very quickly, and took Kitty very seriously. They still were out in their home at the time, and the first group of entries deal with Anne’s private thoughts over school and her social life. The boys who were in love with her were discussed and described, as well as her reactions. Soon after her birthday, though, the family went into hiding. They stayed in the “Secret Annexe” over two years before they were found and arrested by the Germans. Of the eight residents, only Mr. Frank survived the concentration camps.
Middle school student Greg Heffley takes readers through an academic year’s worth of drama. Greg’s mother forces him to keep a diary (“I know what it says on the cover, but when Mom went out to buy this thing I specifically told her to get one that didn’t say ‘diary’ on it”), and in it he loosely recounts each day’s events, interspersed with his comic illustrations. The hero’s utter obliviousness to his friends and family becomes a running joke. For instance, on Halloween, Greg and his best friend, Rowley, take refuge from some high school boys at Greg’s grandmother’s house; they taunt the bullies, who then trash her house. Greg’s journal entry reads, “I do feel a little bad, because it looked like it was gonna take a long time to clean up. But on the bright side, Gramma is retired, so she probably didn’t have anything planned for today anyway.”