Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood: A World War I Tale

illus. by Nathan Hale. 128p. (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales). bibliog. ebook available. maps. Abrams/Amulet. 2014. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9781419708084.
Gr 3–7—In the newest addition to this inventive series, Revolutionary War figure Nathan Hale tells the story of World War I with the support of two sidekicks who help shine light on some of the nuances of the historical event. The narrative explores why the war began, each country's role, battle tactics and technology implemented, and the lasting impact of the conflagration. Each country is represented by an animal, bringing to mind Art Spiegelman's iconic Maus (Pantheon, 1986). The facts are well researched and include statistics, as well as direct quotes from historical figures. The drawings are detailed and engaging, and the sparse use of color matches the tone of the tale. Not for the faint of heart, the book doesn't mince the gruesome, tragic reality of the Great War. The format lends itself as an effective presentation through the lens of Hale's sidekicks: a serious soldier who serves to clarify details, and an irreverent executioner who provides some much-needed comic relief. A mixture of textbook and slapstick, this essential read makes history come alive in a way that is relevant to modern-day life and kids.—Jenna Lanterman, formerly at The Calhoun School and Mary McDowell Friends School, New York City
Nathan Hale, Revolutionary War hero, continues to distract his executioners in this fourth volume, which tackles WWI's complex events. As always, the graphic novel series' irreverent humor makes the complicated story more accessible. Here, "cute little animals" represent different countries, helping readers appreciate the entertaining history lesson (provided they're not put off by the small panel illustrations and tiny type). Reading list.

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