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Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #4): A World War I Tale Hardcover – May 13, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–7—In the newest addition to this inventive series, Revolutionary War figure Nathan Hale tells the story of World War I with the support of two sidekicks who help shine light on some of the nuances of the historical event. The narrative explores why the war began, each country's role, battle tactics and technology implemented, and the lasting impact of the conflagration. Each country is represented by an animal, bringing to mind Art Spiegelman's iconic Maus (Pantheon, 1986). The facts are well researched and include statistics, as well as direct quotes from historical figures. The drawings are detailed and engaging, and the sparse use of color matches the tone of the tale. Not for the faint of heart, the book doesn't mince the gruesome, tragic reality of the Great War. The format lends itself as an effective presentation through the lens of Hale's sidekicks: a serious soldier who serves to clarify details, and an irreverent executioner who provides some much-needed comic relief. A mixture of textbook and slapstick, this essential read makes history come alive in a way that is relevant to modern-day life and kids.—Jenna Lanterman, formerly at The Calhoun School and Mary McDowell Friends School, New York City
The First World War is a complicated subject for even expert historians, so how can Hale squeeze it all into less than 130 pages? For starters, the focus is largely on the western front, he presents only the most pivotal battles, and, in what ends up being a clever way to distinguish between major players without a lot of text, each country involved is represented by an animal (Americans are bunnies). Yes, some of the conflicts come down to petty fighting between cartoon animals in military uniforms, but it’s an effective and simple way to communicate the complicated anger and nationalism that came to a boil in 1914. Hale also respectfully keeps the narrative from becoming too irreverent: amid the mood-lightening jokes are moments of real solemnity, such as when Gavrilo Princip pulls the trigger to assassinate Archduke Ferdinand and transforms from an animated griffin to a terrified human. Students bored to death by textbook descriptions of WWI battle maneuvers should be engaged by this entertaining, educational glimpse at world history. Grades 5-8. --Sarah Hunter
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Looking forward to reading the rest in the collection.