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Thursday, November 11, 2010

the ENEMY, written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Serge Bloch. Random House, 2009. $17.99 ages 6 and up

"The enemy is there
but I have never seen him.
Every morning, I shoot at him.
Then he shoots at me.
We both stay hidden
the rest of the day, waiting."

In my previous post I told you about a book called The War To End All Wars (Batten, 2009) about WWI. Would that it were so!

In fact, there always seems to be a war going on somewhere in the world and despite what history teaches us, we cannot seem to make them stop.  Wherever those wars are happening, you can be sure that families are losing their homes, their loved ones and their trust in others. Soldiers, death, guns, heartbreak and broken promises make enemies of former friends and even family members. There is always an enemy.

Is war the answer?

In this brilliant book we meet two men. Both are hiding in their holes, programmed to kill the other. That is what the manual says they must do. The enemy is dangerous and sure to be a threat to everything held dear should he take the upper hand. As they spend day after day in the same spot with no apparent action, one soldier begins to wonder about the other. Does he see the same stars? Following orders is tough work when  the rain is falling and there is no end in sight to the battle they are waging.

Time passes and the fear and paranoia builds...perhaps the monster will come while the soldier sleeps. No, that cannot happen. He must take the initiative; so, he sets out to kill his enemy. Upon arriving at the enemy's hole, he finds no one there. But, he finds so much more than that...
The sentiment is real and poignant:

"If only he would send me a message saying, "Let's end the war now." I would agree to it right away. So what is he waiting for?"

Could the answer be a message in a bottle?

Powerful and thought-provoking! Bravo!!

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