Written by C. J. Moore
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My Village by C. J. MooreThere is a little village deep in the countryside of Alsace in France. To find it, get off the train at a small station decorated with flowers, and walk down a narrow road between some orchards. In the distance, you'll see the church spire rising above the wheat fields. This is not a made-up village: it really exists. It was the village where Jean-Jacques Waltz, known through his books and drawings as 'Hansi', lived, and it was the place he loved more than any other on earth. At the time he wrote My Village, Alsace was under occupation by Germany following the Franco-Prussian War, and Hansi used his skills as an illustrator to poke gentle fun at the German authorities. The beautiful, colorful and detailed pictures in this book show Alsatian adults and children in their traditional dress, going about their traditional lives in harmony with their surroundings. They are patriotic, kind, and always smiling, despite their difficult circumstances, and they honor the values handed down through the generations. In contrast, the Germans are portrayed as brash and self-indulgent, imposing petty laws on the villagers as well as trying to impose German culture. Hansi's satire, however, is always humorous, and the book is a joy throughout. Sharp-eyed readers will enjoy spotting the subtle references in his illustrations. The text is suitable for children aged from about eight years old, but will equally be appreciated by adults.
'The book is richly illustrated, and richly thought-provoking. It made me wonder about how, in future, Palestinian and Iraqi children's books, for example, might depict the forces currently occupying these nations? How should the oppressors of now be represented to the young descendants of the oppressed? There are of course no answers to these questions.'
'Hansi was a pioneering picture book creator ... It is spendidly detailed and fitting of its own time in style and carefully reveals life in Alsace in the early years of the last century.'
About the Author
C. J. Moore
More books by C. J. Moore
25th September 2008
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