The Button War: A Tale of the Great War

by Avi

As World War I rages, Patryk’s rural Polish village has been occupied by the... read more

As World War I rages, Patryk’s rural Polish village has been occupied by the Russian army for some time. When Patryk finds a button from a Russian uniform, bossy Jurek dares the five other boys in the social circle to obtain soldiers’ buttons of their own. The competitive game turns dangerous when the Russians are driven out by German soldiers, a much more hostile occupying force. Still, the boys continue to take risks to steal the soldiers’ buttons, egged on in particular by Jurek, who is obsessed with being the best and taking the title of Button King. Jurek is so insufferable that the other boys don’t want to let him win, even if it means putting themselves in grave danger. The riveting plot of this short novel is populated with appealing, well-drawn characters and successfully shows the intersection of childhood innocence with the reality and brutality of war. (Ages 8–12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2019

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