The Enemyby Davide Cali, Serge Bloch
In this moving picture book, award-winning collaborators Davide Cali and Serge Bloch present a fable for our time about two lonely soldiers facing each other across a barren battlefield. What each discovers, as the story unfolds, is that the enemy is not a faceless beast, but rather a real person with family, friends, and dreams.
“Every morning I shoot at him. Then he shoots at me.” The words and pictures are minimal in this picture book, with just a short sentence and a small khaki-colored ink drawing on almost every white page. A uniformed soldier in a hole shoots an enemy in a hole on the opposite page. The soldier knows from the manual that “the enemy is not a human being,” that the enemy will kill families and pets, burn down forests, and poison water. The spare trench-warfare scenarios evoke World War I as the soldier crawls to the enemy’s hole and discovers their connections, including loving family photos and battle manuals filled with untruths. In eloquent contrast to the close-ups of the two small holes and barbed wire are the big double-page views of what the soldiers share: the starry night and the stormy sky. The elemental peace message will spark discussion. Add this to the core collection column, Peace Not War in the November 1 issue of Booklist. Grades 2-4. -- Hazel Rochman
About the Author
Davide Cali is the author of 12 illustrated books for adults and children, including I Can’t Wait (illustrated by Serge Bloch), which was an ALA Batchelder Honor Book and also received France’s Baobab Award for Best Children’s Book of the Year. He lives in Genoa, Italy.
Serge Bloch is an artist whose work appears regularly in The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times, He recently received a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, the ALA Batchelder Honor Award, and France’s Baobab Award for the book he created with Davide Cali, I Can’t Wait. He lives in New York, New York.