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


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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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.

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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.

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