French / France

14-18. Une minute de silence à nos arrière-grands-pères courageux
(14-18. A minute of silence for our brave great-grandfathers)

Dedieu (text/illus.)
Paris: Seuil Jeunesse, 2014. – [40] p.
ISBN 979-10-235-0154-4 14-18

World War I | Soldier | Violence | Death | Killing

Soldier Gustave Blanchard writes to his wife from the WW I front: ≫I can’t find any more words for what I am experiencing≪. Between this quote and Adele’s worried written reply, Thierry Dedieu places a textless sequence of images.

The bleak sepia-tone illustrations portray the horrors, devastation, and sacrifices of the war in an incredibly powerful way. Their representations are realistic to the point of extreme, and are somewhat reminiscent of the work of painter and graphic artist Otto Dix. Multi-faceted illustrator Dedieu confronts the reader with many questions: What can violence lead to? For whom must a simple soldier like Gustave be willing to sacrifice everything? What wounds are created by war on both sides? Are there winners in war or only losers? One needs no more than the ≫minute of silence≪ ironically invoked in the book’s title to physically leaf through the book. But one needs much more time to look at it with complete focus and to find answers to many questions. (Age: 9+)