Skip to main content

Shooting at the Stars: the Christmas Truce of 1914 by John Hendrix


Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 is the newest book from a longtime favorite of mine, John Hendrix, and the second that Hendrix illustrated and authored himself. Commemorating the 100th anniversary of World War I, Herndrix turns his thoughtful eye to a humane moment in the midst of an inhumane period of history, telling the story of the incredible Christmas Truce between Allied and German soldiers through the letters of a fictional British soldier and, of course, with his amazing illustrations. As Marjorie Ingall shrewdly noted in her review of Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 for the New York Times, this book would have made a fantastic graphic novel. Hopefully something of the sort is in Hendrix's future?



Hendrix's illustrations are the perfect mix of styles that can take the edge off of a more serious story while also making it more readily understandable. Also, I can't put my finger on exactly what it is, but there is something about Hendrix's work that feels distinctly American to me, in the best way possible. The faces of his characters can be cartoonish at times, but his palette and presentation are, as Ingall's notes, "cinematic" and capable of conveying the drama and humanity of whatever story he is telling, whether it is Charles Dickens's childhood stint in the poorhouse or Sara Edmond's life passing as a male soldier fighting in the Civil War.


Hendrix begins Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 with two pages of informational text that set the stage for the epistolary tale to come. Letters home to mom from a young British soldier appear as text on the page and can also be read in letter form, as part of the illustrations. The truce begins surprisingly and somewhat humorously, but Hendrix does not shy away from the fact that the truce also allows both sides to bury their dead who had fallen in No Man's Land. And, while the enemies find themselves sharing biscuits then kicking around the empty tin like a football, there are also repercussions and recriminations from the higher-ups. An Author's Note at the end of the book, along with a glossary, makes for a nice bookend to this amazing bit of history.



Coming in March from John Hendrix!!



Written and Illustrated by John Hendrix:


 

Illustrated by John Hendrix:


Nurse, Soldier, Spy by Marissa Moss






Comments

Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…