|Great War : stories inspired by items from the first World War|
Eleven acclaimed writers draw on personal objects to bring the First World War to life.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 5.30
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 173712
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 65940
Kirkus Reviews (+) (01/01/15)
School Library Journal (03/01/15)
Booklist (+) (04/15/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (A) (04/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 03/01/2015 Gr 5 Up—Last year marked the centennial of the start of World War I. This collection of short stories, with chapters by acclaimed British authors, including Printz winners Marcus Sedgwick and David Almond, is a timely choice. Each tale is inspired by actual artifacts from the time (an army helmet, sheet music, a compass) and focus on the British participation in the war. In the exceptional "Another Kind of Missing" by A.L. Kennedy, a young boy narrates the story of his father who has returned from war with severe facial injuries. David Almond's "A World That Has No War in It," tells the story of how writing with a soldier's pencil ended a deadly feud between two Irish families. And in Sheena Wilkinson's "Each Slow Dusk," a teenage girl realizes she will have to sacrifice her college plans in order to care for her wounded brother. Interspersed throughout are Kay's haunting illustrations and at the end of the compilation are photos and descriptions of the items that inspired the stories. As there are no living World War I veterans to tell their stories, this profound collection may be as close as some readers will get to truly understanding the emotional devastation of one of the world's bloodiest wars. VERDICT A solid purchase for public and school libraries, particularly those needing to update their World War I collections.—Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Rockaway Township Public Library, NJ - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 04/01/2015 Eleven young adult writers contribute original stories that offer a range of perspectives on World War I. The theme of artifacts that survived the war and the natural aftermath of casual discard is a promising one, and several of the authors put them to excellent use: a compass in A. L. Kennedy’s tale of a young boy’s loving support of his facially disfigured father; a hand-painted commemorative butter dish that launched the career of a teenage girl in an entry by Adèle Geras; the horn of a musician recruited into James Reese Europe’s regimental band in Tanya Lee Stone’s story in verse. Other contributors’ offerings, though, are less successful, e.g., Michael Morpurgo’s rambling opener about a contemporary family’s rediscovery of an heirloom helmet, Marcus Sedgwick’s supernatural-infused tale of the angel/ghost of a downed German pilot; Tracy Chevalier’s overorchestrated piece on a clairvoyant girl who foresees how Princess Mary’s Christmas tin gift will save the girl’s father in battle. Back matter includes not only information on the authors but also pictures of and comments on the artifacts themselves; what’s missing is explanation of how each item came to be a specific writer’s focal point, which could have shed light on the collection’s editorial process and the writers’ inspiration. Kay’s atmospheric black and white illustrations, captioned on the page following each picture, expand visual context for the war but do not consistently incorporate the items in the stories. Even though not all stories are successful, readers will likely discover resonant offerings among this collection, and they might want to pair them with the authentic soldier voices and imaginative contemporary artwork in Duffy’s poetry collection Above the Dreamless Dead (BCCB 11/14). EB - Copyright 2015 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 04/15/2015 *Starred Review* Each of the 11 original short stories in this superlative collection about WWI has been inspired by an object evoking the conflict. Thus, the catalyst for contributor Almond is a soldier’s writing case; for Timothée de Fombelle, it’s a Victoria Cross; for Adèle Geras, a wartime butter dish; for John Boyne, a recruitment poster; and so forth. First published in England, this anthology about a global conflict suitably features an international cast of authors: English, Irish, Australian, French, and American. Together they evoke the specific horrors of “the war to end all wars,” while also suggesting the futility of every war. Though the stories are uniform in their excellence, a few do stand out: Tanya Lee Stone’s rhythmic story in verse about a young musician in a regimental band called The Harlem Hellfighters; Michael Morpugo’s, about a family’s discovery of its past on the centenary of the Great War; and Marcus Sedgwick’s, about an angel, an airship, and a boy who is different. Haunting black-and-white illustrations by Kate Greenaway Medal–winning illustrator Kay reinforce the stories’ somber mood and cumulative power. This book is both beautifully designed and beautifully written. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.