Study Guide

Number the Stars Chapter 16

By Lois Lowry

Chapter 16

I Will Tell You Just a Little

  • At the beginning of this chapter, Henrik and the Johansen ladies are back home, and everything seems okay. They are telling jokes and letting their hair down—everything's much less serious.
  • Annemarie fills us in on what happened in the meantime. The doctor picked up her mother, fixed her ankle, and put a cast on it. But this meant that when Annemarie got back from taking the package to Henrik, no one was there. So Annemarie tried to milk the cow all by herself. (Think you could do that?)
  • Annemarie's thoughts are interrupted when Kirsti speaks up, wondering about Ellen. Where did she go?
  • Mrs. Johansen tells a little white lie, explaining that Ellen's parents arrived and picked her up.
  • Henrik takes Annemarie aside, back out to the barn.
  • Henrik milks the cow while he and Annemarie talk. He says that it's not safe for her to know everything, but that since she showed such great courage, he'll let her in on a few of the details.
  • Annemarie doesn't think she was courageous, but we know she was. After all, if she'd been caught, she could have been killed. 
  • Henrik explains that he knows a Danish fisherman, who happens to be one of many people who doesn't agree with the Nazis' ideas. This guy has found a way to use his sea craft to help some of the Jews (and other people persecuted by the Nazis) get to safety. He constructed a secret compartment in the ship and has been using it to smuggle people over to Sweden.
  • Here's another revelation: Peter is a Resistance fighter.
  • The ship sure fooled Annemarie—she was on it herself and couldn't tell there was anyone hidden there. Good thing, too. Turns out the Nazis stopped by after Annemarie did.
  • Next up, Annemarie asks about the significance of the handkerchief. Henrik explains that it had something on it to help fool the Nazis' dogs so the people on the ships would have a better chance of going unnoticed. Peter helped put everything together, and Henrik is one of many people now using these handkerchiefs to thwart the Nazis.
  • Think about this: because of Annemarie's bravery and goodness, the Nazis were fooled when they came to visit Henrik. She's definitely a hero.
  • Henrik took all his passengers across the water to Sweden. He reassures Annemarie that nothing else bad is going to happen to her friend. He also reassures her that her friendship with Ellen will outlast their separation—and the war.
  • Now that everything's on the table, the two are able to relax and laugh. Exhale.