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Why War Is Never a Good Ideaby Alice Walker and Stefano Vitale
Synopses & Reviews
Though War is Old
It has not
Poet and activist Alice Walker personifies the power and wanton devastation of war in this evocative poem.
Stefano Vitale's compelling paintings illustrate this unflinching look at war's destructive nature and unforeseen consequences.
"In a startlingly graphic exploration of the horrors of war, Vitale (When the Wind Stops) first paints folk-like landscapes in his signature style, showing graceful, brown-skinned mothers cuddling their children, and birds soaring through the jungle. Then he crushes them, covers them with gray paint, or smears horrid, waxy substances over them, and collages the results — which, like the fruits of war, are the stuff of nightmares. Walker's (There Is a Flower at the Tip of My Nose, Smelling Me) text is equally frightening. Of a 'blissful' mother and child, she writes, 'They do not smell War... Marching slowly/ toward them.' She shifts into second person: 'War tastes terrible/ & smells/ Bad... You could die/ While/ Choking/ &/ Holding/ Your/ Nose.' Accompanying the latter passage, Vitale shows a creature made of some unspeakable, dripping, brown and green muck, in whose depths plastic soldiers are buried and whose face has the shape of a skull. The final spread offers a view from inside a deep well. Its walls are encrusted with some brackish substance, and 11 dark faces — mothers, children, a man in a suit — peer down into it. 'Now, suppose,' Walker concludes, 'You/ Become War/ It happens/ To some of/ The nicest/ People/ On earth:/ & one day/ You have/ To drink/ The/ Water/ In this place.' Leaving kids feeling more aware than ever of their helplessness in the face of real and terrifying issues beyond their control, this book may be even more disturbing than a fact-based presentation. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Poet and activist Alice Walkers evocative, heartfelt poem personifies the power and wanton devastation of war. Vitales compelling paintings illustrate this unflinching look at wars destructive nature and unforeseen consequences. Full color.
About the Author
Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and an American Book Award for her novel The Color Purple. She has written numerous poems, essays, and short stories, including her most recent book, The Way Forward is With a Broken Heart. Originally published in 1974, Langston Hughes: American Poet was Alice Walker's first book for children. This picture book biography is now back in print with a new author's note and beautiful new illustrations. Ms. Walker lives in Northern California.
Stefano Vitale's award-winning artwork appears in galleries and exhibitions as well as in such picture books as When the Wind Stops, by Charlotte Zolotow (an ALA Notable Book). Mr. Vitale is a graduate of the University of Southern California and of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He lives with his family in Venice, Italy.
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