Monday, May 2, 2016

Picture Book Monday with a review of Why?

When I was five years old, a civil war broke out in the country that I was living in. Suddenly, and for reasons that I did not understand, people who had lived side-by-side were now killing each other. It was village against village, and neighborhood against neighborhood. To say that my experiences had a profound effect on me is an understatement. To this day I loath violence and hate-filled words.

Today's picture book shows, to great effect, how conflicts can grow out of petty disagreements. It is a book that children and adults alike can connect with.

Why? Why
Nikolai Popov
Picture Book
For ages 5 and up
Minedition, 2016, 978-988-8341-05-4
One day a frog is sitting in a meadow and it picks a beautiful flower. Having the flower makes the frog very happy, but someone else is not happy at all. Mouse wants the flower that Frog has picked, and so Mouse forcibly takes the flower from Frog.
   Mouse does not get to enjoy ownership of the flower for long because soon Frog’s friends arrive on the scene and they chase off Mouse. The frogs celebrate their “victory” by gathering up all the flowers in the meadow and they dance around with joy. Their conquest is short-lived because soon Mouse returns with his friends. They roll up in an armed boot and chase the Frogs across a bridge, firing on them.
   The mice think that they have won and that the frogs have been routed, but their victory is also short-lived because the frogs have a plan in place to give the mice a taste of their own medicine.
   Children often ask grownups why wars start, and all too often the answer they get is long-winded and complicated. In this picture book the author shows readers of all ages that often the reason why people go to war is very simple, and very foolish. One act of violence begets a violent response, and the conflict escalates. Eventually both sides look across a scene of desolation and unspeakable loss and they cannot, for the life of them, understand how things got so bad.
  There is a message in this tale, a powerful message, that readers of all ages will appreciate and hopefully carry with them. They will see that responding to a problem with violence is never the answer.

   

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