The Day War Came

Nicola Davies, illus. by Rebecca Cobb. Candlewick, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0173-4
Gentle, childlike drawings by Cobb (There’s an Owl in My Town) help soften the blows in this story by Davies (King of the Sky), published in association with Help Refugees, about a girl in a country at war. War comes one day when she’s at school—not in the morning, she explains, when her class is learning about volcanoes and tadpoles, but in the afternoon, “just after lunch.” The juxtaposition of the girl’s routine and the catastrophic events heightens the tragedy. The war, portrayed as a big ashy cloud, destroys her home and family: “War took everything./ War took everyone.” When she finds her way to another country in a stream of refugees, a schoolteacher refuses her a place in class, and she realizes that “war had gotten here, too.” She is slumped in a dark corner when a boy opens the door and offers her a chair: “My friends have brought theirs, too, so all the children here can come to school.” Though Davies suggests that everyone has to lend a hand to push hate away, sensitive readers may be too distressed by all that has occurred to take in the children’s generous impulse. Ages 6–9. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/23/2018
Release date: 09/04/2018
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