David Almond is a deceptively brilliant writer. His syntax is simple, although his vocabulary is not, but sentence upon sentence it builds up to an unexpected crescendo before you are hit by an explosion, the impact of which leaves you overwhelmed by emotion.
War is Over is set in 1918 as the Great War is coming to an end. It’s the story of John, a boy whose father is fighting in France and whose mother is working in a munitions factory. The plot is slight but it raises complex questions of right and wrong, war and peace. When John finds a picture of a German boy his own age, he is forced to question the war itself. The Germans, he begins to feel, are people like him and his family – but can he like people who are trying to kill his father? Is Gordon, the conscientious objector, right?
The book is illustrated by David Litchfield and the power of his drawings is immense. Somehow, using only black and white, he is able to depict aggression and gentleness, to conjure up changing seasons and moods.