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THE LETTER HOME by Timothy Decker Kirkus Star


by Timothy Decker, illustrated by Timothy Decker

Age Range: 7 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 30th, 2005
ISBN: 1-932425-50-0

Though this quiet tale of war is set in 1918 Europe, the story itself could reflect any modern war. An extended letter from a father to his son in America, the narrative begins: “I did not want to write to you until I could say that I would be home soon.” The delicately etched, black-and-white, pen-and-ink drawings, each framed on lovely cream-colored paper, are spare and beautiful, whether depicting soldiers trudging through fields or passing day in and day out in bunkers. Overall the artwork reflects wartime’s quieter moments, though, “Some nights were alive with fireworks.” The letter writer’s Red Cross-style armband subtly marks him as a medic, but readers know for sure when he mentions a Far Eastern prayer he learned from a patient in 1917: “Compassion as action to ease the pain of the world.” On the last page, as on the cover, stands the sad-looking boy with his letter and a mysterious pair of soldier’s legs. Father? Maybe not. This elegant work powerfully conveys the slow crawl of war from a soldier and father’s perspective. (Picture book. 7-12)