Waterloo and Trafalgar

Olivier Tallec. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $17.95 (64p) ISBN 978-1-59270-127-8
It’s hard to imagine a more charming antiwar polemic. It’s clear from the outset that Tallec’s (The Scar) two guards, with their stumpy bodies and stew-pot helmets, can only be engaged in folly. They sit on opposite sides of a border—Trafalgar in orange, Waterloo in blue (they’re named for Napoleon’s defeats, a note explains)—manning telescopes pointed at the other. Together, they endure the change of the seasons, the comfortable rituals of bedtime, and minor skirmishes, until one day a baby bird appears, improbably colored half-orange and half-blue, a deft allegory for civilians caught in war zones. Die cuts that divide the pages into thirds provide stop-action sequences, and Tallec’s comic abilities evoke giggles despite the sobering subject matter. This is a story for adults and children to work through together, as smaller readers may need help decoding some of the action. They won’t have any trouble with the conclusion, though, when the two guards throw their arms around each other, and Tallec reveals, in more ways than one, that they’re on the same side. Ages 6–10. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/08/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
Genre: Children's
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