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Author: Goldstyn, Jacques
When World War I breaks out, two childhood best friends in Canada enlist to fight in the war, but only one of them lives to witness the beginning of the armistice that ends the war.
Kirkus Reviews (+) (09/15/18)
School Library Journal (+) (12/01/18)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/10/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/15/2018 Though at first blush this appears to be a picture book, its vividly antiwar story suggests it is better suited for readers in grades five through eight. It is the tale of two lifelong friends, young Canadians Jim and Jules. Jim is born first and Jules, two minutes later. Thereafter Jim, faster and stronger than introverted Jules, is always two minutes ahead of his friend. Thus, Jim is the born leader and Jules, the follower. Then one day, war breaks out (though not specified, it’s obviously WWl), and the two young patriots enlist. Expecting glory, they find, instead, the horrors of war, which author-illustrator Goldstyn does not whitewash. Happily, a cease fire is finally declared, but two minutes before it goes into effect, Jim is shot and killed. Readers will find it oddly appropriate and quietly satisfying what happens to a bereft Jules thereafter. Goldstyn’s text is powerful in its spareness, while his cartoon pictures successfully capture the story's tone and moods, both antic and somber; taken together, these create a memorable, moving tale. - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2018 Gr 4 Up—This Canadian import searingly depicts the impact of war through the lens of two best friends, Jules and Jim, who are born on the same day and share an unlikely friendship. Although born two minutes apart, Jim is always quicker to learn and faster than Jules, yet they are as close as brothers when World War I breaks out in Europe and each enlists. Goldstyn's ink and watercolor illustrations beautifully pair with his words, depicting subtleties and political context that might otherwise elude readers. For example, in one vignette it shows how Jules and Jim may not know about the "treaties and alliances, but they understood that their country needed them." Goldstyn openly depicts shells, bullets, and poisonous gas launched at each side, and though not excessively graphic, it is obvious that people are dying. The monotony and fear of life in the trenches is rendered in heartbreaking detail, as is the realization of Jim and Jules that German soldiers aren't monsters but simply men. Goldstyn also reflects on how people are faring. For Jim and Jules, the armistice is two minutes too late and one of them does not survive. When only one returns home, his life is haunted by loss as he attempts to find a way to move forward in his life. This is a lengthier picture book and, due to its content and rich use of figurative language, is best suited for older children. It is however, an excellent resource for adults to share with students when having discussions about war in general and World War I in particular. VERDICT This is a beautiful and heartfelt picture book about war and perspective that should be a part of all social studies curriculum. Highly recommended.—Rachel Zuffa, Case High School, Racine, WI - Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.