A story about war and conquering nations from the creator of Not Now Bernard, and Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. There was once a powerful country that was ruled by a General who decided to conquer all his neighbours. This plan worked until there was just one small, jovial country left. When the soldiers went there to subjugate the people, they ...Read MoreA story about war and conquering nations from the creator of Not Now Bernard, and Elmer the Patchwork Elephant. There was once a powerful country that was ruled by a General who decided to conquer all his neighbours. This plan worked until there was just one small, jovial country left. When the soldiers went there to subjugate the people, they were persuaded out of their uniforms, into the taverns, and onto the dance floors. It didn't matter how many times the soldiers were sent back home and replaced with new recruits, it was always the same story, and the returning military played the music of the conquered nation. Just who has conquered whom?Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2005-01-10 In this provocative parable of domination, illustrated in an unaggressive ink line and mild colors, a General leads his army against less powerful countries. " `It's for their own good,' he said. `So they can be like us.' " Blonde women and girls, and red-capped men and boys, wave farewell to the red-and-blue uniformed conquerors as they parade to battle. (The General dresses like Napoleon and the soldiers wear the kepis of gendarmes.) At last, just one tiny country remains, and its people "offered no resistance. Instead, [they] greeted the soldiers as if they were welcome guests." Peasants-including women wearing Muslim headscarves and robes-joke, sing and eat with the invaders. The soldiers join in and help them with their chores. Later, civilians in the General's country begin trying new recipes and playing borrowed games. At night, to his son, the General sings "the only songs he could remember. The songs of the little country... he had conquered." British author-illustrator McKee (the Elmer series) suggests that violent "conquerors" might be combatted in unconventional ways, and his message of nonviolent resistance echoes Gandhi's. Yet the book raises troubling questions: Were those who resisted by force wiped out, their traditions erased? Is smiling, cooperative assimilation the only resort for unarmed dissenters in an Empire? McKee's galvanizing tale makes a good companion to Marsden and Tan's The Rabbits, a powerful statement from the perspective of the colonized. Ages 4-8. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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