Review posted October 10, 2008.
HarperCollins, 2007. 32 pages.
2008 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #4 Children's Nonfiction
Though War has eyes
Of its own
& can see oil
& mahogany trees
& every shining thing
When it comes
It is blind;
Though War is Old
It has not
It will not hesitate
Belong to it
Here is a haunting and poetic, artistic and beautiful book.
The language is simple. The author talks of things that War cannot understand, but that it can destroy.
The artwork is haunting, memorable and symbolic. On one page, the words are: Picture frogs beside a pond holding their annual pre-rainy-season convention. They do not see War. Huge tires of a camouflaged vehicle about to squash them flat. The illustrations show a close-up painting of frogs on the left, with a photo of a rusty wheel on the right side, wadding up pages of peaceful villagers falling underneath it.
The portrayal is not graphic, but symbolic, making it all the more striking.
Don't read this book to your child if you want to make apologies for War, if you want to explain about necessary evils.
However, if you think you can use some convincing, or want to express an unambiguous idea to a child, this book makes a powerful and persuasive case for why War is never a good idea. The language is simple enough for a child, yet something that will linger in the mind of an adult.