The Book Thief
The Book Thief Chapter 42 Summary
The Whistler and the Shoes
- It's fall and Rudy has been having the same troubles at Hitler Youth.
- It's late in October and Liesel sees Rudy coming, his face covered in what looks like mud.
- Rudy tells Liesel to smell him. She realizes it's fertilizer (made from cow dung).
- Franz, the Hitler Youth leader, made Rudy do push-ups in a newly fertilized field.
- Between Hitler Youth and the Viktor Chemmel incident, he feels like a big fat loser.
- He needs a little success. He feels the need to thieve.
- Rudy and Liesel agree to meet the next day to pull some job or other.
- At first, they can't think of anyone or anything to rob.
- Then Liesel gets an idea.
- She takes him to the mayor's house.
- She expects the library window to be open, but it's closed.
- Unfortunately, they will have to watch the place for a few days, until the time is right.
- A week passes and then – they find the window open.
- Liesel is both relieved, and terrified.
- Rudy wants her to get some food for him, but she has other ideas.
- She wants to steal The Whistler.
- Leaving her shoes with Rudy, she goes in through the window and grabs the book.
- Uh oh. She hears people walking on the floor above her. Rudy sees a light come on.
- She makes her way out the window, and they run.
- When they stop a safe distance away, Rudy sees the book and realizes that Liesel didn't even try to get him any food.
- Liesel realizes that Rudy has left her shoes behind outside the mayor's window.
- Ashamed, Rudy tells Liesel to wait and then goes back for her shoes.
- After what seems like forever, he comes back successful and smiling.
- He asks for a kiss but Liesel refuses, again.
- Rudy asks what The Whistler is about, and she tells him it's about a killer on the run from the police.
- When Rudy leaves Liesel at her door he says, "Goodbye Saumensch. […] Good night, book thief" (42.137).
- This is the moment Liesel officially gets her nickname. She likes it a lot.