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School Library Journal:

Gr 4 Up — In the midst of the bleakness of World War I on the Western Front somewhere in Belgium, a miracle occurred. On Christmas Eve 1914, the Germans and the English were at a stalemate. Each side had gone as far as they could go, and instead of pushing on, they dug a series of extensive trenches that allowed them to hide from the bullets being fired by their enemies. Of course, this meant that no movement could be made and so the two sides fought on across the space between called “no man’s land” with very little effect. But on Christmas Eve, the German soldiers proffered a temporary peace, a cease-fire, for both sides to celebrate the holiday. As unlikely as this was, the truce held while they shared songs and food as if they were old friends. On Boxing Day, however, the war returned to these beleaguered men. The narrator is shot having just spent Christmas singing to the enemy. Lewis’s prose is sometimes overwrought but the story is strong nonetheless. Kelley’s dark palette and angular faces showcase the pain, the ennui, and the futility of war. This is a great addition for middle school libraries, in particular. Pair it with John McCutcheon’s less dark Christmas in the Trenches (Peachtree, 2006), which can be used with much younger children.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA –Joan Kindig (Reviewed January 1, 2012) (School Library Journal, vol 57, issue 13, p119)

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