The Good Son: A Story from the First World War, Told in Miniature

Written by Pierre-Jacques Ober
Review by Linda Harris Sittig

This is a story of WWI for ages 8-12. It concerns Pierre, a French soldier who leaves his post for two days and is arrested for desertion when he returns. As Pierre sits in the guard house, he thinks back to how the war began. He had enlisted to make his mother proud. He had wanted to do his part to stop the Germans advancing through Europe. He recalls his first battle and the terror of war. He remembers that his friend Gilbert saved his life. When Pierre is sentenced, he writes his mother one final letter. In it, he tells her how he left his unit looking for water and stumbled into a small party of German soldiers. To his amazement, they offered him coffee, and he stayed for two days.

This is not a story to be taken lightly. Pierre will not survive the war. But, it is the superb way in which the illustrations were composed, all miniatures—from the soldiers to the details in the landscape, that grabs the reader’s attention. It is lovingly created, and I found myself reading it over and over. Highly recommended.