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EYES LIKE WILLY’S by Juanita Havill


by Juanita Havill & illustrated by Juanita Havill

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: June 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-688-13672-9
Publisher: HarperCollins

This WWI story poses an interesting question: what happens when enemies are also friends? In 1906, ten-year-old Guy, with his parents and little sister Sarah, spend their summer holiday in Bregenz, a lakeside resort in Austria. On the first morning, he meets Willy, an Austrian boy. Drawn by shared interests, they quickly become best friends, and each succeeding year’s holiday deepens their relationship—until the summer of 1914, when the boys, now ready to enter university, find their vacation cancelled by the advent of war. Both enlist, on different sides. Havill, best known for picture books, struggles with characterization early on; Guy and Willy sound precocious, and their friendship is more told than shown. As the story progresses, though, it becomes steadily more believable; Guy’s emotions when he sees a wounded Austrian who resembles Willy are heartfelt. Worth a look. (illustrations not seen) (Historical fiction. 9-12)