Annotation: John Dante is seventeen years old in 1942 and enlists into the army, despite the response of his family and girlfriend, Ginny.
Book talk: John Dante starts off as an idealistic and optimistic teenager, only to be replaced by an anxious and depressed adult after spending several years fighting in Europe during World War II.
“We soldiers had been right all along. The enemy is always interchangeable. Only the boys in the field remain the same, no matter the war. Boys will do the fighting because they are young and still possessed of the best faith. Only the young can be persuaded to die for each other. Only the young can be persuaded this is the only way.” (p. 90)
In less than one hundred pages Rylant is able to persuasively convey antiwar sentiments without sermonizing. This simple story is all the argument needed to see that war does not end simply because the battles are over.
Subject Headings: World War, 1939-1945 – Juvenile fiction