Friday, January 06, 2012

And the Soldiers Sang

And The Soldiers Sang. J. Patrick Lewis. Illustrated by Gary Kelley. 2011. Creative Editions. 32 pages.

In September, three hundred gangly innocents shipped out by Channel steamer from Southampton to Boulogne. Then, wedged in by heat, sweat, and stink, we rode for hours by cattle car at cattle speed, wheels click-clacking across France. The train hissed to a stop, and its slatted doors flew open. We marched ten miles through Belgium to the Western Front--a planet away from Cardiff, Wales, and the meadows of my youth.

Is it a picture book? Is it a graphic novel? I'm not sure I have the answer to that. If it is a picture book, it is one of those 'for older readers.' This short book is powerfully descriptive. In just thirty or so pages, readers get the chance to imagine what war was like. It was not pretty.  (The war in question is World War I.)

This is a fictional account of the war. The war is seen through the eyes of one young man who participated in the 'Christmas truce' of 1914. If you're expecting a happy, happy book, this isn't for you. It's more realistic than that, more honest than that. It's an interesting contrast really, seeing those moments of war and moments of peace so close together. I think this is a book that invites you to think.

This is my first book for the War Through the Generations Challenge.

Read And the Soldiers Sang:
  • If you love stories that are told just as much through art--illustration--as words/text.
  • If you are interested in war stories.
  • If you are interested in World War I.
  • If you are looking for bittersweet Christmas stories. 

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

3 comments:

Sherry 11:11 PM  

Becky, I like the "read this book if . . ." ending to your recent reviews. When did you start doing that? It's really very helpful to people looking for a next read.

Becky 11:27 PM  

Sherry, I just started it this January. I hope to have it for all future reviews :)

Joyce Moyer Hostetter 2:45 PM  

I do want to read this book. The Christmas Truce of 1914 fascinates me and breaks my heart because the soldiers wanted peace so much and would have continued the friendly exchange if their leaders had only let them.

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
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Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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