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ARCHIE’S WAR by Marcia Williams


My Scrapbook of the First World War, 1914–1918

by Marcia Williams & illustrated by Marcia Williams

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3532-9
Publisher: Candlewick

Williams departs from her familiar comic-strip style to present this lad’s-eye view of the First World War, filling oversize spreads with collages of period post cards, taped-on bric-a-brac, newspaper clippings, foldout letters from the front and cartoons drawn in colored pencil. Ten years old when he receives his blank album, Archie begins by innocently introducing his extended London family, plus friends and neighbors both real and made-up. His blithe commentary darkens, though, as the war begins, comes closer with his own and other local fathers’ departures for France and climaxes after long years of increasing food shortages and worry with the bombing of his best friend’s street. Peace and his father do return at last, but as Archie writes in a wrenching summary letter (placed on the front endpaper): “They say that this has been the war to end all wars. Well, I hope they’re right, but I don’t really trust grown-ups any more.” The idiom, setting and details may be British, but young Americans will have no trouble drawing parallels between WWI and the present situation. (Fiction. 10-12)