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THE ENEMY by Davide Cali


A Book About Peace

by Davide Cali and illustrated by Serge Bloch

Age Range: 8 - 12

Pub Date: April 14th, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-375-84500-0
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

War demands an enemy: Two khaki-clad soldiers peer out of holes, torn through the page as if by bullets. They are separated by a large expanse of white on either side of the gutter. One soldier defends his position: “The enemy is there but I have never seen him. Every morning, I shoot at him. Then he shoots at me.” They are both hungry and exhausted. But the other deserves to be. He is a beast. At least that is what the war manual says. Yet neither makes the first move. They wait, in an endless stalemate. Finally, one soldier sneaks out at night, ready to attack. But so does the other, and instead, they swap places. The enemy’s foxhole is exactly the same. Why are they fighting? They don’t know. Cali and Bloch break war down to its smallest—human—component. The powerful text and loose ink drawings are as spare as the foxholes they portray and leaven the weighty subject with an accessible irony. Though too metaphorical for the very young, middle-grade readers may well tuck away a small piece of this book to save for the future. (Picture book. 8-12)