Review Blog

Jun 10 2011

One boy's war by Lynne Huggins Cooper

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Ill. by Ian Benfold-Hayward, Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2010. ISBN 9781847801265
(Ages 10+ ) Picture book. The evil of war is revealed through this diary like tale of a young man, a 16 year old, who enlisted despite his mother's protestations, to go to France in 1914. He expects, as many did, to be home for Christmas, and cheerily tells his mother not to worry. As the story progresses the tone of his tale becomes less and less optimistic, more laden with words describing a hellish scene, tales of men being sent back to England with wounds that will see them never work again, or praying to get out, or possible doing themselves harm. And the stunning illustrations parallel the words. All around the images becomes more barbaric, with bodies lying across the page, barbed wire litter each page with rats making their appearance.
A moving tribute to those who died, like the boy in the story, Sydney Dobson, the tale is a harsh reminder that war does not solve anything, that young men fight and die, while others stay at home waiting for their return. This will make a terrific book to study when looking at war as a theme. It would be particularly useful as one of the books used in a literature circle.
Fran Knight

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