cover image Jon-Jon and Annette

Jon-Jon and Annette

Elzbieta. Henry Holt & Company, $12.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-3299-4

Elzbieta's (Mimi's Scary Theater) unabashedly sweet, childlike pictures subtly and simply counterpoint her resonant parable about war. Annette and Jon-Jon, rabbit playmates who live on opposite sides of a brook, pledge that they will marry when they are ``big.'' Then war comes: Jon-Jon's father goes off to fight and ``where the brook once was, there was now a thornbush.'' Worse yet, the friends are on opposite sides of the war. Jon-Jon wants to tell the war to go away, but ``it didn't listen to anyone. It came and went as it pleased. It made a terrible noise. It ran over everything in its way.'' One day, the war is replaced by silence, and Jon-Jon's father returns, but the youngster is distressed to find that the thornbush remains. With a sigh, his father explains, ``War never dies.... It just sleeps from time to time. And when it sleeps, great care must be taken not to wake it up again.'' Harmony triumphs in the book's hopeful ending, as Jon-Jon walks outside to find that Annette has made a hole in the thornbush and is waiting for him. Smaller in format than most picture books, this inviting paper-over-board volume will inspire children to ponder important questions that have no easy answers. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)