This is the biography of Vladek Spiegelman, the author's father, told in graphic novel format. The book shifts in time to show the story of his father's life in Poland, before and during World War II, and the conversations between the father and son - the interviews for the book - long after the war. The book blends the tragedy of intolerance - seizure of property, neighbors informing on neighbors for small gains, torture, killing the elderly and young children - with modern concerns, including the father/son relationship and coming to terms with Vladek's wife's suicide.
The first book's full title is called Maus, A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History.
The second book is called Maus II: And Here My Troubles Began. Its focus is on his father's experiences in Auschwitz, and it includes even more cruelty. Both books include mature content.
This is a powerful, page-turning, tragic book. It's somewhat incongruous to read about such disturbing things with mice characters in comic book frames, but the format works. Because the content includes so much human destruction, the book is probably not a good fit for most upper elementary readers. The father/son interview patter reveals their relationship vividly, with tensions and impatience and love, and this part of the story also requires an older readership to fully appreciate.
"I can tell you other stories, but such private things, I don't want you should mention."
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