Enemy

Enemy

4.0 1
by Davide Cali, Serge Bloch
     
 
In this moving picture book, award-winning collaborators Davide Cali and Serge Bloch present a fable for our time about two lonely soldiers facing each other across a barren battlefield. What each discovers, as the story unfolds, is that the enemy is not a faceless beast, but rather a real person with family, friends, and dreams.

From the Hardcover edition.

Overview

In this moving picture book, award-winning collaborators Davide Cali and Serge Bloch present a fable for our time about two lonely soldiers facing each other across a barren battlefield. What each discovers, as the story unfolds, is that the enemy is not a faceless beast, but rather a real person with family, friends, and dreams.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Starred Review, School Library Journal, April 2009:
"Poignant, thought-provoking, and powerful in its frankness and simplicity, this short piece will prompt discussion on war and other means of resolving conflict."

Review, The Wall Street Journal, April 25-26, 2009:
"Think of it as a kind of 'All Quiet on the Western Front' for the elementary-school set, though with chic, inventive illustration by Serge Bloch."

From the Hardcover edition.

Publishers Weekly

In identical foxholes, two identical soldiers in khaki uniforms wait to destroy each other. "Every morning, I shoot at him. Then he shoots at me," says one. When he and his enemy both light fires or suffer in the rain, the speaker does not consider their shared hunger and misery. Instead, he consults a manual with a blood-red cover that pits him against "a wild beast... not a human being." When he desperately disguises himself as a shrub to ambush his foe, observant readers notice that a passing "lion" is his equally tired rival, going AWOL. Cali and Bloch (previously paired for I Can't Wait) establish an absurd waiting game worthy of Beckett. Bloch pairs pen-and-ink cartoons with collage elements like family photos, and gives readers a bird's-eye view from which to observe the men's similarities. The point will not be lost on readers. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal

Gr 4-8

In an understated picture book for older readers, Cali ponders the essence and logic of war from the viewpoint of a lone soldier, isolated from his fellow troops, sitting in his foxhole within sight of his enemy. "Except for hunger, the enemy and I have nothing in common. He is a wild beast. He does not know mercy. I know this because I read it in my manual. It says that we must kill him before he kills us." The man ponders the pointlessness of war, his hesitancy to let down his guard, his fear of being alone. He is tired of sitting in a hole. He waits until the moon is at its smallest, puts on a disguise, and creeps toward the enemy's foxhole. What he finds in there (family photos and a manual like his own) surprises him. What's more, he realizes that he and the enemy, sharing similar thoughts, have traded spaces. He wishes the enemy would do something to end the war, and knows that he must end it himself. Set against stark white backgrounds, black-line cartoon characters, reminiscent of Jules Feiffer's work, are dressed in khaki green. Other items are drawn in the manner of a child's doodles. Tiny touches of red color the soldiers' manuals and people and animals that have been killed. Several photos, pages from an old war manual, and bits of torn paper folded at the edges to represent foxholes, have been added in a few places. Poignant, thought-provoking, and powerful in its frankness and simplicity, this short piece will prompt discussion on war and other means of resolving conflict.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH

Kirkus Reviews
War demands an enemy: Two khaki-clad soldiers peer out of holes, torn through the page as if by bullets. They are separated by a large expanse of white on either side of the gutter. One soldier defends his position: "The enemy is there but I have never seen him. Every morning, I shoot at him. Then he shoots at me." They are both hungry and exhausted. But the other deserves to be. He is a beast. At least that is what the war manual says. Yet neither makes the first move. They wait, in an endless stalemate. Finally, one soldier sneaks out at night, ready to attack. But so does the other, and instead, they swap places. The enemy's foxhole is exactly the same. Why are they fighting? They don't know. Cali and Bloch break war down to its smallest-human-component. The powerful text and loose ink drawings are as spare as the foxholes they portray and leaven the weighty subject with an accessible irony. Though too metaphorical for the very young, middle-grade readers may well tuck away a small piece of this book to save for the future. (Picture book. 8-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375937521
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
04/14/2009
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Related Subjects

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Starred Review, School Library Journal, April 2009:
"Poignant, thought-provoking, and powerful in its frankness and simplicity, this short piece will prompt discussion on war and other means of resolving conflict."

Review, The Wall Street Journal, April 25-26, 2009:
"Think of it as a kind of 'All Quiet on the Western Front' for the elementary-school set, though with chic, inventive illustration by Serge Bloch."

Meet the Author

Davide Cali is the author of 12 illustrated books for adults and children, including I Can’t Wait (illustrated by Serge Bloch), which was an ALA Batchelder Honor Book and also received France’s Baobab Award for Best Children’s Book of the Year. He lives in Genoa, Italy.

Serge Bloch is an artist whose work appears regularly in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times, He recently received a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, the ALA Batchelder Honor Award, and France’s Baobab Award for the book he created with Davide Cali, I Can’t Wait. He lives in New York, New York.

From the Hardcover edition.

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