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WHY WAR IS NEVER A GOOD IDEA by Alice Walker Kirkus Star


by Alice Walker & illustrated by Stefano Vitale

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-075385-6
Publisher: HarperCollins

How do you answer the question implied in this title? Beautifully, powerfully and truthfully, as Walker and Vitale demonstrate in language and images accessible even to very young children. The lines, “War has bad manners / War eats everything / In its path / & what / It doesn’t / Eat / It / Dribbles / On:” float over an image of a once-beautiful old city, now blasted and sere. War destroys unthinkingly—from bright green frogs to ancient sculpture, from pumas and parakeets to blessed and needful water. War is blind to nursing mothers and boys with donkeys. Walker’s language is perfectly plainspoken without being coarse, laid over Vitale’s jewel-like color and riot of images from the sublime (a village by a lake) to the scary (a poisonous green fog covering a bright forest). Disembodied eyes, bombs like darts, paint sculpted into terrifying monster shape, echo and reinforce the strength of the language. Children deserve to see this, and adults need to be ready to discuss it with them. (Picture book. 5-10)