Long ago and far away, in a rambling garden beside a clear blue lake, two flocks of birds began to fear each other because of their differences. The fear grew, and soon the birds became enemies, hoarding great quantities of weapons to protect themselves--until panic struck and the chance for peace seemed lost forever.
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MEM FOX is the author of many acclaimed books, including Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, Possum Magic, Koala Lou, Time for Bed, and, for adults, Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever. She lives in Adelaide, Australia.From School Library Journal:
Grade 1-4?An antiwar allegory. A pride of peacocks notices that a flock of nearby swans can both swim and fly, feats they themselves cannot do. They wonder if the swans will use their strength aggressively. Soon they convince themselves that they are in danger, and begin stockpiling arms?only to be used defensively, of course. The swans then gather their own weapons. Fear and tension increase until the war both groups have been preparing for breaks out, triggered by a nervous mistake. "Soon cries filled the air and blood darkened the earth." Two eggs survive, two chicks hatch, a swan and a peacock. They recognize one another as fellow birds, more alike than different, and stumble away to share the world. This allegory is alive with symbolic references and ideas. The pictures, however, are what lift the story out of the ordinary. Wilton's full-page acrylic paintings on the right are framed with primitive borders laid against a second border of solid black. The left-hand page displays brief text set on a background of geometric and natural forms in symbolic shapes (roses and thorns, snakes and fish) in colors that are shaded with darkness but nonetheless vivid. This tale will be an easy step-off to discussion of the late arms-race, perhaps helping to clarify thoughts, even to changing opinions. Fox clearly implies that war is the result of stupidity and unreasonable fear.?Ruth Semrau, formerly at Lovejoy School, Allen, TX
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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