Study Guide

Number the Stars Chapter 4

By Lois Lowry

Chapter 4

It Will Be a Long Night

  • Annemarie and Ellen are at Annemarie's using paper dolls to act out stories from Gone With the Wind. Remember, this is 1943, so it's the equivalent of acting out some big new Hollywood blockbuster today.
  • When Annemarie's mom brings Kirsti, the little girl is really upset because they bought her new shoes made out of fish skin (the Danes can't get leather). She's majorly embarrassed and doesn't want to wear them to school.
  • Always thinking, Ellen offers a solution: her father has some ink they can use to paint the shoes and make them look less offensive. 
  • Kirsti calms down a bit at this suggestion, and she asks if she can be part of the doll game. The older girls include her, even though Annemarie isn't psyched about it. That's what we call a good big sister.
  • New game. Instead of Gone With the Wind, the dolls now go to Tivoli Gardens
  • Annemarie and Ellen think about the fun of Tivoli and the cool fireworks that went off there. Kirsti chimes in that she thinks it was fun, too. But wait a second, Kirsti was too young to go to Tivoli before the Germans prohibited it.
  • Then Annemarie realizes Kirsti is thinking about a specific event: the night the Danes blew up their own ships so the Germans couldn't have them. Their mom had told Kirsti that the bombs were fireworks.
  • Everyone in Annemarie's family who was old enough to understand what was really happening was really inspired by the Danes' action. Even just the memory makes Annemarie grow tired of the game they're playing.
  • Ellen leaves to help get ready for the Jewish New Year, and she invites Kirsti to celebrate with them later that week. 
  • Jewish New Year is the following Thursday, and Ellen takes the day off to go to services. Annemarie and Kirsti are sort of jealous that they still have to go to school.
  • That night, Kirsti is supposed to go to Ellen's to watch them celebrate the New Year, but there's a change of plans.
  • Here's what happens: Mrs. Rosen (Ellen's mom) stops by and talks to Mrs. Johansen (Annemarie's mom). Instead of Kirsti going to Ellen's, Ellen is going to spend a few nights at the Johansens'.
  • Annemarie is disappointed for Ellen—the New Year was supposed to be a big celebration for her family. For the moment, Annemarie doesn't get any more information about what happened.
  • Ellen arrives in time for dinner, but only Kirsti seems to enjoy herself. After they eat, Mrs. Johansen pulls Kirsti aside and Mr. Johansen tells Annemarie more about what's going on—Ellen isn't there for just a sleepover.
  • Instead, Mr. Johansen explains, the Rosens found out that the German soldiers have a plan to start rounding up all the Jewish people in Copenhagen and taking them somewhere else. The Danes don't understand exactly what this means, but they can tell it's really, really bad.
  • Annemarie wants to help all the Rosens, not just Ellen, but her father says they have to do what they can. They couldn't help Ellen's parents, but Peter is helping them.
  • Ellen is really upset, of course. Mr. Johansen tries to reassure her. He explains that they're going to hide Ellen in plain sight by pretending that she's another child in the Johansen family.
  • So that's the plan.
  • And with that, it's time for bed.