Why did Mama send Annemarie with the packet for Uncle Henrik instead of taking it herself in Number the Stars by Lois Lowry?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Annemarie takes the packet because no one will suspect a little girl.

Peter and Annemarie’s parents are preparing the Jews for their escape to Sweden. They are pretending that Annemarie’s Great-aunt Birte died to explain why all of the people are gathered, but there is no person in the coffin. It contains clothing and blankets for the escapees. 

Annemarie watches her mother help the people get ready. They all get food, blankets, and warm clothes. They give the baby something so it will sleep, in case the crying might alert someone. 

"I want you to deliver this. Without fail. It is of great importance." There was a moment of silence in the hall, and Annemarie knew that Peter must be giving the packet to Mr. Rosen (Chapter 11).

Peter, who is a Resistance member, tells Mr. Rosen he is not going to go all the way to the boat. Once he gets his group to the boat, he has to go on. Peter doesn’t tell Mr. Rosen what’s in the packet, and Annemarie realizes he is protecting Mr. Rosen by not telling him everything. 

Mr. Rosen trips and drops the packet. Annemarie’s mother realizes this and worried their preparations “may all have been for nothing.” Annemarie knows the packet is important, so she volunteers to take it. 

Annemarie took the packet from her mother's hand and stood. "I will take it," she said. "I know the way, and it's almost light now. I can run like the wind" (Chapter 13). 

Mama has her get a small basket so she can pretend she is getting her uncle food if she is stopped. While a woman going early in the morning to see a fisherman might be suspicious, a little girl carrying lunch would not be. Annemarie will pretend to be a silly little girl if anyone stops her. 

Annemarie is stopped by four German soldiers with dogs. Although she is afraid, she tells them exactly what she planned to say: she is out early because she is bringing her fisherman uncle his lunch. She tries to think of what Kirsti would say, and chatters away like a little girl about how her uncle can’t stand fish. 

The soldiers take the food and complain there is no meat.  One finds a handkerchief at the bottom of the basket, but doesn’t know what it is. Later, Henrik thanks Annemarie for being brave. He tells her the dogs are used to sniff out hiding Jews, but there is something in the handkerchief that ruins their sense of smell.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial