August 18, 2021


War by Portuguese father-son duo José Jorge Letria and André Letria is a sobering look at the consequences -- and futility -- of war. 

What is war? Why do wars happen? What are the consequences? Letria's text tells us that wars spread quietly and swiftly, unbiased in its destruction and ultimately pointless in bringing peace. Wars are created from hate, ambition, spite, and fear, and they all end the same way: people set out to destroy each other only to find themselves and their lives destroyed in the process, and all that's left for survivors is more hate, ambition, spite, and fear. Another war to fight.

As the elder Letria's text conveys these dark messages of powerlessness and fear, the younger Letria's illustrations follow a faceless war general as he assumes power and declares war on neighboring nations. The color palette is somber, with many grays and grayed colors (yellows, oranges, and blues mostly), and Letria shows snakes, spiders, and various creepy-crawlies slowly slinking their way into the general's life, climbing in through his window, crawling all over him, and seemingly telling him where to start his battle. And in the end, only the creepy-crawlies survive the guns and the bombs, climbing over the rubble and corpses  to move toward their next target.

War publishes next Tuesday, August 24, 2021 from Greystone Kids. And if you're looking for more books about war, check out this old list I put together almost exactly 5 years ago today.

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