Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Why War Is Never a Good Idea

Walker, Alice (Author)
Vitale, Stefano (Illustrator)
HarperCollins 2007. 32 pages
First published: 2007
ISBN: 9780060753856 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

evocative language, language conventions, multimodal, setting, stance

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Poetry and images combine to create a powerful indictment of the devastating effects of war—on nature, people and the future of our planet. Concrete language serves to introduce metaphoric abstractions: “Picture frogs/Beside a pond … do not see War/Huge tires/Of a/Camouflaged/Vehicle/About to/Squash/Them flat.”

A boy and a donkey, a mother and her nursing baby, and the forest, (“With its/Rivers/& rocks/Its pumas”), are all unsuspecting victims of war in this book. “They do not smell War/Dressed in/Green & brown/Imitating/Their fields”

Many illustrations seem to glow with the brilliant colours of tropical lands. Peaceful, panoramic landscapes in folk-art style contrast with images of painterly ooze in crusty-looking ochres and greens. One powerful scene shows a cross-section of the Earth, as missiles drive deep into village soil, corrupting the groundwater.

This thought-provoking book offers a reflection on war that touches all senses: “War tastes terrible/& smells/Bad … It makes/You sick/Sip by sip.”

  •  

    A reading of this visual text should consider the use of colour, line, shape and graphic design elements. Discuss one of the double-page spreads: list the elements you notice, their possible meanings and why they matter.

  •  

    In small groups, select a double-page spread and discuss the messages being conveyed through the text and illustration(s). Consider how these work together.

  •  

    Following initial reading and discussion, continue to explore the big idea(s) presented by the text and write a response.

  •  

    The author's stance on war is clear, beginning with the title. Before reading, list reasons why war might never be a good idea. Share and discuss your list in a small group and then as a class.

  •  

    After doing a picture walk, select a double-page spread and discuss how the illustrations and text work together to provide meaning. If there were no text, what message would the illustrations convey and vice versa?

  •  In small teams, rewrite the poetic text of this book to retell the same story in your own words.
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Personal Development
  • Social Sciences