Friday, July 12, 2013

Waterloo & Trafalgar by Olivier Tallec

Waterloo and Trafalgar is a charming wordless picture book about the pointlessness of war. French artist Olivier Tallec named the two soldiers in this story for two battles lost by Napoleon's troops. According to the editor's note, "Each reader will absorb the story in his or her own way, and we hope that young readers will find Waterloo and Trafalgar to be oddball and appealing names. For other readers, the echoes and connections with history might mean something."

The cartoon soldiers look nearly identical. One is orange and one is blue. The men are visible through die cut circles pierced through the thick cover board, each seen as if through the other's telescope. Throughout the story, they watch each other from across a narrow divide.

Comic daily life dramas unfold as seasons pass. The soldiers try to outdo each other using the volume of their music. Orange Trafalgar makes a pet of a snail. The snail crawls across to the other side, where it is eaten by blue Waterloo. In the end, it is a baby bird who precipitates an end to the hostilities.

Recommended for all ages.

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