- Featured in MOSAIC 2007, an annual multicultural literature exhibit hosted by Lincoln (NE) Public Schools Library Media Services. The exhibit featured the best and most current multicultural titles from 2006-2007.
- Included in the 2008 edition of The Best Children’s Books of the Year, an annotated bibliography from the Children’s Book Committee of Bank Street College of Education in New York City.
"In its quiet way, this is a remarkable and original book."
—School Library Journal
"The pain of the immigrant experience ... is compellingly captured in this spare, unsentimental novel."
"Cheng achieves a pitch-perfect characterization for this Hungarian-American boy in the early 1950s. ...His few possessions are well beloved, and his insatiable thirst for knowledge about his world is age-authentic. The metaphors that Cheng provides, her straightforward prose, and the connections she draws between life behind the Iron Curtain and life under American slavery make the difficult concepts Peti must contend with understandable to both him and the reader; children with and without first-hand experience with immigration and relatives in danger in faraway lands will warm to Peti's plight."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Deeply moving. ...Through Peti's credible voice, Cheng insightfully explores multiple themes and motifs, among them hope, light, escape, family, friendship and self-reliance."
"The book presents a sensitive and realistic portrait of a bright, trusting child caught up in situations he does not understand. Emphasis on the grandfather’s plight behind the iron curtain adds to the story’s historical value."
"Short, episodic chapters and poetic prose make this a good choice for those of a literary bent."
"Peti is a likeable character even though he often gets into trouble by asking too many questions. Forming a special relationship with the local librarian adds a gentle sub-plot and alleviates some of the suffering Peti endures at the hands of Gabor. Recommended."
—Library Media Connection