Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WHY DID THE WHOLE WORLD GO TO WAR? by Martin W. Sandler

WHY DID THE WHOLE WORLD GO TO WAR?

And Other Questions About World War II

From the Good Question series

By Martin W. Sandler (Author) , Robert Barrett (Illustrator)

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4027-9621-0
Publisher: Sterling

A very simple overview of World War II.

Sandler’s approach to questions about WWII is unapologetically direct: “Hitler wanted Germany to take over other countries and rule the world.” Subtle, no, but there’s no quibbling about the bottom line. Some young readers will likely have questions about how A leads to B: Germany had to “get rid of its military” after World War I but was able to invade Czechoslovakia just two decades later, though Sandler does not explain how Germany reincarnated its military, for instance. With selected, specific topics, on the other hand, Sandler comfortably hands over the goods: on blitzkriegs, the Battle of Britain, the role of spies, great battles, the reason Anne Frank was in hiding and the contributions of the Tuskegee Airmen. The artwork is appropriately dramatic—bold colors applied to a nubbly canvas, catching melodramatic moments—and appears alongside handsome and richly informative maps; there is a brief timeline as an appendix. Some glitches are less problematical—backward swastikas—and some are of greater concern. “World War II was the deadliest war in history. More than 15 million people lost their lives”—yes, like an additional 25-45 million people. Further reading and a bibliography are available at the series website but not in the book itself, making it difficult for young readers to delve deeper.

An elementary steppingstone, but nothing more. (Nonfiction. 10-14)