Archie's War: My Scrapbook of the First World War

Overview

Marcia Williams captures the Great War through a child’s eyes with a fascinating fictional scrapbook including real mementos of the day.

Meet ten-year-old Archie, his family, and best friend in a scrapbook Archie has made himself, full of comic strips and plenty of other memorabilia. The year is 1914, and as the Great War begins, Archie’s scrapbook reflects the war’s impact on his life and on those who write back from the front. Marcia Williams retains her humor and energy as ...

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Overview

Marcia Williams captures the Great War through a child’s eyes with a fascinating fictional scrapbook including real mementos of the day.

Meet ten-year-old Archie, his family, and best friend in a scrapbook Archie has made himself, full of comic strips and plenty of other memorabilia. The year is 1914, and as the Great War begins, Archie’s scrapbook reflects the war’s impact on his life and on those who write back from the front. Marcia Williams retains her humor and energy as she employs a new collage style to present an intimate and compelling view of the First World War and its era.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Williams (Chaucer's Canterbury Tales) inventively expands on her signature comic-strip style in this oversize, paper-over-board work, ostensibly a scrapbook made by a 10-year-old Londoner between May 1914 and November 1918. With Archie's comics at the center, its heavily collaged pages chronicle the events in the character's own life and in the turbulent outside world. Period photos, ephemera and newspaper excerpts supplement the comics, and a timeline of WWI milestones weaves across the bottom of many spreads. Postcards and other correspondence from the front, "written" by Archie's uncle and father, lift up or fold out from the page-one is even tucked into an envelope. One especially poignant letter, from Archie's uncle, describes the famous Christmas 1914 cease-fire that occurred spontaneously in the trenches in France. Characters die; sustain injuries in battle; and survive explosions at home and even a bombing by Germans; but Archie, realistically, has other matters on his mind as well, like the disappearance of his dog or, more happily, learning about birds when he and his mum evacuate to the countryside in 1918. Although young "Archie's" style doesn't mature over the course of war, Williams otherwise maintains a child's perspective believably enough, and her lively format will encourage even reluctant readers to take a close look at the details of a disastrous event. Ages 8-12. (Dec.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Through the eyes of Archie, who is ten years old in 1914, we see the war and its effect on him, his family, and friends. In this book presented as his scrapbook, he includes his own drawn comic strips, along with sketches of other events and bits and pieces of everything from newspaper clippings to bugs and feathers, to cover the events in his life and the world as the war goes on. There are also paper doors to open and attached letters and postcards to read. Archie follows the news as he also reports on his family. A bomb falls as airplanes become part of the war. By the time the war ends, Archie can celebrate but is saddened by the cost. Looking back in 1919, Archie concludes, "There's nothing as awful as war." There is almost too much included on each large double page here, created with colored pencils and mixed media, to absorb in one reading. Even the endpapers are literally littered with torn newspaper clippings and collector's cards from cigarette papers. One double-page scene shows the doom of the notorious Red Baron. How better to tell the story of World War I for other youngsters? A glossary explains some British English for American readers. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
VOYA
Archie's war is depicted through an intriguing scrapbook, which portrays the advent, profound effects, and finally the end of World War I through the eyes of a ten-year-old English boy. Archie receives the scrapbook from his Uncle Colin as a birthday gift in 1914, and so begins the reader's journey through the everyday world of wartime and the tenacity of a playful imagination. Archie's family lives in East London where his father works at the boot factory. His mother and grandmother care for the house and his baby brother, Billy; his older siblings, Ethel and Ron; his Uncle Teddy; and his dog. Archie and his mate Tom have many adventures and even manage to survive the bombing on Tom's street. This scrapbook is able to convey the consequences of war on a family in a way that no textbook could ever manage. The author's drawings are, at points, funny but also heart wrenching. Included are wonderfully imaginative comic strips, mementoes, photos, period post cards, news clippings, cartoon characters, maps, notes, and attached letters. These bits and pieces are presented as a collage and frequently offer foldouts that will captivate the young reader as evidenced by a patron who thought that the style was "Cool!" and immediately wanted to check out the book. It would make a wonderful addition to school libraries for a fun read or excellent addition to the curriculum especially for those reluctant history students. Reviewer: Ava Ehde
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6- Ten-year-old Archie Albright is living in East London in 1914 when his Uncle Colin sends him a blank scrapbook that quickly becomes a chronicle of Britain's entry into World War I and its effect on the lives of ordinary British citizens. Archie's simple cartoon drawings, words, photographs, newspaper clippings, and artifacts combine to tell the story. His teenaged sister is forbidden by their father to participate in antiwar protests, reflecting the community's rising patriotic sentiment, which extends to the point of shunning neighbors of German descent. In tabloid-style entries, Archie recounts shattering events such as the death of his Uncle Teddy in battle, the bombing of a friend's street, the return of his injured brother and a shell-shocked neighbor, the departure of his family to the safety of the countryside, and, finally, armistice. Humor and pathos combine as the scrapbook becomes a personal four-year chronicle of a boy's coming-of-age amid the horrors of war. Particularly poignant are Archie's longing for word from his soldier father and his secret, conflicted confession, on a dramatic spread, that the brave German fighter pilot the Red Baron, shot down, is his new hero. The large-format pages, jam-packed with tiny colored-pencil drawings with extensive captions, detailed sidebars, and pasted-in letters and postcards, flesh out the story and characters. While some British terms and customs will be unfamiliar to American readers, this imaginative presentation of historical fiction puts them in context and provides a highly visual experience that readers will pore over again and again.-Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY

Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763635329
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 11/13/2007
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 415,608
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.32 (w) x 12.72 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Marcia Williams, like Archie, was crazy about comics as a child. She has retold many classic tales in her own signature comic-book style, including those of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Dickens, and is the author-illustrator of GOD AND HIS CREATIONS and HOORAY FOR INVENTORS! She lives in London.

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