The Enemy by Davide Cali and Serge Bloch

The Enemy by Davide Cali and Serge Bloch is one of those picture books that you read once and remember forever, because its message is so clear and strong.

Set during an unnamed battle, two fatigued soldiers from opposing camps are fighting each other — mostly psychologically, since no bullet is exchanged (in the story at least) — from their respective holes/trenches, with neither really knowing why they are fighting, except that they have been conditioned to treat the other as The Enemy.

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Serge Bloch’s mostly monochromatic (save for subtle touches of blood red and army green) line illustrations are deceptively simple, but pack a big poignant punch when paired together with Davide Cali’s thoughtful and revealing narrative in the voice of one of the two soldiers.

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A moving and eloquent essay on the pointlessness of war and conflict, and the helplessness and humanity of the poor souls who are dragged into a fight that they never asked for.

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