War is Over


War is Over‘ but what does that mean? John has written to the King and the Archbishop of Canterbury asking when war will be over. They haven’t replied.

John can barely remember his father, fighting in the trenches in France. His mam says when ‘War is Over’ they’ll walk as a family to the woods, and hear birdsong and see skylight. Now Gordon hides in the woods. He tells them there are children in Germany just like John, children like Jan in Dusseldorf. Mr McTavish says Gordon is a coward. He tells the children  they should be heroes and grow up to fight for the King and country.

With soul searching sepia ingrained images by master illustrator David Litchfield, David Almond’s spare words resonate. We sense John’s confusion, his uncertainty about an increasingly unknown father, and fears for his mother. The inclusion of Jan is a thoughtful, poignant touch. David Almond is a superb writer. ‘War is Over’ is a ‘forever’ title, befitting its theme, subject and place.


War is Over

David Almond, illustrated by David Litchfield

(Hodder)- hardback

What was there before war? Who are we fighting? How do children fight? John is full of questions. He can barely remember his father, fighting in the trenches in France. His mother will not talk about her 12- hour days in the munitions’ factory. Gordon, who hides in the wood, says there are children just like John in Germany, children like Jan in Dusseldorf. Who is to be believed? ‘War is Over’ is a stunning story of war told imagined through the experiences of a school boy in 1918.


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