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The Button War: A Tale of the Great War

The Button War: A Tale of the Great War

Scritto da Avi

Narrato da Will Ropp


The Button War: A Tale of the Great War

Scritto da Avi

Narrato da Will Ropp

valutazioni:
4/5 (15 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
4 ore
Pubblicato:
Jun 12, 2018
ISBN:
9781543687170
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

Renowned, award-winning author Avi pens a stark, unflinching tale of ordinary boys living in wartime as tensions—and desperations—mount among them.

Twelve-year-old Patryk knows little of the world beyond his tiny Polish village; the Russians have occupied the land for as long as anyone can remember, but otherwise life is unremarkable. Patryk and his friends entertain themselves by coming up with dares—some more harmful than others—until the Germans drop a bomb on the schoolhouse and the Great War comes crashing in. As control of the village falls from one nation to another, Jurek, the ringleader of these friends, devises the best dare yet: whichever boy steals the finest military button will be king. But as sneaking buttons from uniforms hanging to dry progresses to looting the bodies of dead soldiers—and as Jurek's obsession with being king escalates—Patryk begins to wonder whether their "button war" is still just a game. When devastation reaches their doorstep, the lines between the button war and the real war blur, especially for the increasingly callous Jurek. Master of historical fiction Avi delivers a fierce account of the boys of one war-torn village who are determined to prove themselves with a simple dare that spins disastrously out of control.

Pubblicato:
Jun 12, 2018
ISBN:
9781543687170
Formato:
Audiolibro


Informazioni sull'autore

Avi is the author of the Newbery Medal novel Crispin: The Cross of Lead and the Newbery Honor books Nothing But the Truth and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, among many other books for young readers. Catch You Later, Traitor was inspired by his own childhood in Brooklyn during the Red Scare. Avi now lives in Colorado. You can visit him online at www.avi-writer.com.

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3.9
15 valutazioni / 15 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (5/5)
    Poland, 1914. In a small village, Patryk and his friends do everything together. The first airplane Patryk has ever seen drops a bomb on his school. This is the beginning of the German advancement to push the Russian army out of the village. One friend, Jurek, shows the others a button from a German soldier and challenges the others to a competition: the one who finds the best button becomes king. Not only do events turn tragic, the other boys come to realize that Jurek is dangerous and that the game is not a game at all.
  • (1/5)
    Patryk and his friends live in a small Polish village occupied by the Russians. The Germans drop a bomb on the village, and then invade. Patryk and his friends have a dare, and the winner is the one who steals the best button from the soldiers. Determined not to let Jurek win, Patryk continues playing the game, despite the destruction and death that is occurring around them.I thought this book left a lot to be desired. Patryk and his friends seemed more like eight year olds than the twelve years olds they were supposed to be. There was no real ending or conclusion to the book. An epilogue or something was sorely needed. Overall, a bust.
  • (5/5)
    To me, this story is a children's version of World War II.

    Whereas the adults were fighting for bloodlines, land, and glory, the kiddos were trying to top one another with the grandest button procured...sound simple? Sound like child's play? Well trust me, it's not. There are still those bragging rights for the one deemed the winner of them all, the power that comes with that coveted spot, and the lording over factor to deal with...depending on who wins. Patryk has a kind heart, but a determined spirit...the former serves him well with his family and friends, the latter may prove his end if he's not careful. It's that determination that drives him to keep playing Jurek's game, to see just who wins the button war, but not so that he can claim king of them all, but rather so Jurek can't. To say he's a bad egg would be like saying the Titanic was merely a boat...he's trouble with a capital "T", the stand-in for our story of that unfortunately memorable dictator we all know and loathe (sports a mustache, likes to stick his arm in the air like he just doesn't care, because he didn't...you know the one). If he wins, they'll be no living with him, and it's already hard enough as it is...but if he loses, now that's an outcome not yet considered, and perhaps just as scary.

    It was really interesting to me how the author managed to break down this ginormous event in our history and make it "kid friendly", so to speak. If taken at face value, it's kids battling it out for having the best button, but all the things going on beneath the surface, all the dangers faced, hardships overcome, struggles endured, and lives lost, make it one story that will leave its mark with readers of the Middle Grade set and beyond.


    **ARC received for review
  • (4/5)
    THE BUTTON WAR by Avi is a work of historical fiction of middle grade students focusing on peer pressure and obsession during war.Avi’s latest work of historical fiction is set in a small Polish town during World War I. While the war rages around them, a group of boys play their own deadly game involving obtaining a military button.Librarians will find readers intrigued by the parallels between the war and the boy’s contest. Some youth will be drawn to the action packed plot. However, others will be dismayed by the focus on the dark themes.Published by Candlewick Press on June 12, 2018. ARC courtesy of the publisher.
  • (4/5)
    When I won Avi's The Button War through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers Program, I was glad. I've enjoyed every Avi book, except for The Man Who Was Poe, which offended me because his characterization of Poe was based upon Griswold's lies, not the real man. Otherwise, it was a good story. So is The Button War. That it took me over a month to finish this short novel was because it was well written.The Button War takes place in an unnamed remote village in Poland during early World War I -- August 1914. Our hero is Patryk, son of the village wheelwright. He and the boys he hangs out with (Drugi, Jurek, Makary, Raclaw, Ulryk, and Wojtex), are all either eleven or twelve years old. Patryk and Jurek are two of the twelve-year-olds. Raclaw, son of the village lawyer, is the most prosperous. Jurek is the poorest.At the beginning of the book, Jurek seems to be just a bully who can't handle the fact that he's an orphan who lives with his eighteen-year-old unmarried sister who supports them by being the laundress for Russian soldiers stationed by their village. They live in a one-room, tumbledown shack. Jurek claims to be the descendant of Poland's first king, Boleslaw I, the Brave. Jurek comes up with ideas and dares that the other boys follow. The button war is one of those ideas.The boy who steals the best button from a soldier will be the button king and wield a cane they found. Patryk knows Jurek would be a cruel king and beat the other boys with the cane. His father told him he must protect the weak, so Patryk is determined to win. I couldn't see this ending well. Then we started getting news of immigrant and refugee children being cruelly torn from their parents [June, 1918]. Even fictional children in peril seemed too much. For weeks I couldn't bring myself to read past chapter 31.I finally picked the book up again on July 20th and read straight through to the end. Yes, it was that suspenseful. Getting th4e buttons becomes m ore dangerous once the Russian soldiers leave and the German soldiers arrive. Jurek is so determined to win that even when one of the boys is caught at the game and punished, he refuses to let Patryk's clearly superior button make him the winner. I wished the boys would just tell Jurek where to go, but I've never been a boy. The war reaching the village in earnest isn't enough to stop the game. Patryk is desperate to protect his friends from the budding sociopath. The last scene, knowing what led up to it, is haunting.The World War I setting is interesting, as is the fact that these are unsophisticated rural kids caught up in something completely outside their experience. There's a lesson about not following a bad leader, not to mention signs to look out for in a seriously disturbed classmate.It's a very good adventure. Note: The U.S. used to spell 'airplane' as 'aeroplane' early in the 20th century. I have some of the Honey Bunch series of girls' books that ran from 1923 through 1955. The twelfth book was Honey Bunch: Her First Trip in an Airplane, but it's listed as 'aeroplane' in my older editions. The dustjacket and title page have pictures of the kinds of buttons the boys get. That's a nice touch.
  • (3/5)
    I generally like historical fiction and while this book was well-written, I did not care for the plot of the story as a general fiction novel. If the premise was to show a potential negative outcome to poor decision making, then this novel was successful, but not a pleasurable afternoon read.The reader is introduced to a group of boys claiming to be friends, but it is quickly demonstrated by their words/actions that there really is not much actual substance of friendship in their relationships. The self-proclaimed leader is a bully who is rude and creates dares and changes the rules to suit his own selfish ends. The story follows them through a dare to steal the best button from a soldier in order to become the "Button King". The action quickly turns dark as the choices made by the various boys lead to devastating consequences. This book could be beneficial if used for a discussion about bullying, war, peer-pressure, and the consequence of choices. If anything was learned from this book, 11 and 12 year old boys need the involvement of parents and teachers to guide their choices of friends and activities, including the reading this book, which I would not recommend a young person do without guidance and discussion!
  • (4/5)
    World War Two has marched and bombed its way into twelve-year-old Patryk’s tiny Polish village. The German army is fighting for control of the Russian held territory and the lives of the hardworking villagers are turned upside down. As with war anywhere and in any period, innocent civilians pay a dear price, and like most, their lives will never be the same again.When not in school, Patryk, Jurek, and their friends spend their days hanging out by the water pump, exploring the forest, and challenging each other to dares. Jurek’s dares are becoming increasingly more and more dangerous and his latest scheme is heading in a direction that Patryk knows isn’t going to end well for any of them. Jurek has declared that the newest competition is to steal military buttons from soldier’s uniforms and the one that steals the best button will be declared the Button King. With the desire to win driving the group, the competition is fierce between the boys and rapidly escalates from stealing buttons from freshly-washed uniforms drying outdoors to looting the bodies of dead soldiers laying scattered and unclaimed near their village. Patryk’s concerns deepen as Jurek becomes increasingly more obsessed with the competition, knowing he shouldn't participate, yet can't pull himself away.Avi makes us feel like one of the group; trailing alongside Patryk and whispering in his ear “No, don’t do it - just go home!!” Peer pressure, bullying and the desire to protect friends and family are prominent themes that are skillfully interwoven throughout the story. The thoughts and actions of the boys are comparable to twelve-year-old boys anywhere and during any period of time, making the story one that older middle-grade readers are sure to relate to. As with any story about war, some chapters contain more disturbing violence and tragedy than others, however, The Button War is a well-written, coming-of-age story that paints a descriptive picture of a dark moment in our collective history.
  • (5/5)
    Review of The Button War by AviTypically, there are three types of people who find war exciting: adolescent boys, people who profit off of war, and sadists.In The Button War, Avi introduces us to all three kinds of people, which is shocking for a book written specifically for middle school children.The story centers around a group of seven boys who are “all eleven or twelve years old”—that age when puberty tends to hit, and an age when, in August 1914, when the story is set, most boys were expected to begin learning to fend for themselves, so are often allowed to roam the streets of small towns looking for adventure and often getting into mischief.Patryk, the narrator, helps his father make wooden wagon wheels in his shop that is attached to the small family home. The home is so small, Patryk sleeps “on a high, wide wooden shelf in [the family’s] warm kitchen.” Patryk has a clear sense of right and wrong because his family always reminds him that he must “take care of people” and is required to eat supper with them as a family every night.Jurek is the story’s main protagonist, and is, in many ways, the complete opposite of Patryk. He’s an orphan who lives with an older sister who is constantly throwing him out of her house. He’s a terrible student, and he’s so self-centered that he’s made up a myth that he is descended from “the ancient Polish king Boleslaw the Brave,” so owns the entire forest surrounding the town, which includes a set of ruins that Jurek imagines was a castle. The boys often meet at the ruins and build a fire in the fireplace that is the primary intact remnant of the house that once stood there.Jurek desires nothing more than to boss everyone, so is often the instigator of the boys’ challenges, most of which are typical boy-type dares to see who runs the fastest, who could catch the biggest fish, or who could build the best snow fort.Tension in the story begins in the first chapter, however, when Patryk finds a button in the forest, and Jurek demands he give it over to him because everything in the forest is his. When Jurek threatens Patryk with a large stick for the button, Patryk finds the courage to simply throw the button far away, so that neither boy will find it again, but his unease at Jurek’s demeanor grows steadily as the book progresses.Once Jurek steals a brass button off of a Russian soldier’s tunic, he challenges the other boys to a button war, so that the winner—the boy with the best button in a 24 hour period—gets to be “king” and carry their former teacher’s cane. Having witnessed Jurek’s propensity for violence over the first button in the forest, Patryk keeps accepting Jurek’s challenges for one simple reason—to keep Jurek, who has already demonstrated his ability to be cruel to the other boys, from winning.Patryk is a dynamic character who grows visibly as the story progresses. He feels compelled to do the right things, but what is right becomes clouded by war. First the Germans bomb the only school building in their small village—which gives the boys more time to wander unsupervised, then the Russians soldiers stationed there leave, only to be replaced by German and Austrian soldiers. In fact, so many more soldiers come that they won’t all fit in the old Russian barracks, so soldiers are farmed out to live in villagers’ homes.Tragedy, naturally, follows the war, but most of the tragedy in the story is caused by the conflict Jurek—a purely selfish, narcessistic, and evil boy—exacts on his friends.The story involves death by beating, bombing, and shooting, and does an excellent job of demonstrating why war is not exciting, but terrifying. The story does not have a just ending, since there is little justice in war, and only a few of the boys survive the button war, but parents can rest assured that Patryk demonstrates that, while doing the right thing is not always easy or clear, continuing to help others, especially those in need, is what defines the human spirit.
  • (5/5)
    I received this book as part of a Librarything giveaway. Thanks to Candlewick Press for sending it to me.It’s August 1914 in a small Polish village: Patryk and his little group of friends are just like other boys their age. They like to explore the forest, hate school, and enjoy spending their time hanging around the old water pump. Yet that summer two things happen that change their lives forever: first, the Russian soldiers who have been stationed at their village for as long as they can remember have to retreat due to the outbreak of the First World War and then, rebellious Jurek finds a button in the woods. This shiny button is the beginning of a seemingly innocent game, in which the person who finds (or steals) the best and most beautiful button from a soldier’s uniform is allowed to call himself King. But what started out as a lot of fun turns into a deadly quest in the middle of the biggest war the world has ever seen. How far will to boys go to win?What an outstanding book and such an important middle grade read! Author Avi managed to write a novel similar in its simplicity and meaningfulness to such classics as Slaughterhouse Five or All Quiet on the Western Front. He paints a simple yet powerful picture of what life at the beginning of World War One was like, especially for those, who were too young to understand what was happening. Told through the innocent eyes of Patryk, the reader gets a very personalized view of how the boys try to make sense of what is going on in their home town without realizing that they’re taking part in their own, miniature version of the big war. It’s an important and wonderful read that would be a great addition to a 7th or 8th grade curriculum! Five stars!
  • (5/5)
    NOTE: I received my copy via Net Galley.Twelve-year-old Patryk lives with his family and friends in a small Polish village when The Button War, a new novel by Avi, opens in August 1914. Russian soldiers occupy their village but mostly leave the villagers alone as they go about their lives. Suddenly, planes appear overhead and a bomb destroys the school, killing a child and the school master. Germans are coming and their peaceful life is disrupted in harsh ways described in stark prose through the eyes of Patryk. Even as their world falls apart, the group of boys, led by the bully Jurek, start their own war: a "button war" that challenges the boys to steal buttons from the various soldiers. The boy with the best button will be king. It seems innocent at first but like the real war around them, it escalates and Patryk finds himself unable to control events as Jurek becomes increasingly brutish.Avi does not spare the reader from the callousness of violence and death at the beginning of World War I. The lives of the Polish villagers mean nothing to either side of the conflict. Patryk's father warns him that they are stuck between the two sides and life has become very dangerous. Avi masterfully weaves the two wars together in sometimes brutal ways. The prose moves quickly. The tension mounts from the moment that first bomb falls with little time for the reader to breathe; it is as though the reading experience mirrors the experience of the characters whose world is shattered. They face life and death decisions that must be made within moments.I read it through in one sitting, unable to pull myself from the story. While it is appropriate for young adult readers, I would suggest that, at least for the pre-teens, parents read along and talk about some of the more violent images. The relationship between Patryk and Jurek also provide valuable opportunities for discussions about how we are influenced in positive and negative ways by other people and what we can do to avoid being bullied into making decisions.
  • (4/5)
    A small town in Poland is occupied by the Russians. A group of friends starts a competition to see who can get the best military button. The main rule - you can't just ask for the button. As the small town is occupied by different groups of soldiers, the bet has unintended and dire consequences.
  • (2/5)
    "What's the war about?" We were silent. No one knew the answer. I so wanted to like this middle grade historical fiction book set in Poland during WWI. But the characters were just horrible. Patryk, our MC, is a very weak character and a bit of pushover. He and his friends are the epitome of meek followers. They seem more concerned with the going along with Jurek's rules than their own safety and the lives of their friends. Jurek was a bully and slightly unhinged. There was seriously something wrong with him. He creates a dare type game to see who can get the best button (from the soldiers stationed in their city). He much resembled a sociopath and I honestly couldn't stand him. I didn't like any scene that he was in even though I knew he was to play the part of the villain.I did enjoy the parts that looked at the war coming to their town. In one aspect everything changed when the first bombs were dropped on their town, but as children, who's worlds greatly revolved around themselves, much went on the same as always.
  • (4/5)
    This story was haunting to say the least. It turned into something that was completely unexpected, but I loved it. Twelve-year-old Patryk's Polish village has been thrust into the middle of World War I. Like any normal, young boys, Patryk and his six friends make up a game to take their minds off of the calamity surrounding them. The object of the game is to find the best button. It seems innocent enough, but after it takes a deadly turn, they are torn between quitting the game and pushing it even further. This book is a prime example of how poor choices can lead to devastating consequences. As a mother, this story was heartbreaking. Many times I just cringed and wanted to correct these boys. I recommend this book to children ages 11 and up. While using the Great War as a backdrop, the author highlights common issues with children such as bullying and peer pressure, which makes it a great choice for classroom discussion.
  • (4/5)
    I thought this was a wonderful book about a boy who was dealing with a bully that also happened to be in his friend group. Without spoilers, this book will make you aggravated at times especially at the end, and may not be suitable for those that may be triggered by violence. That said, this book is well written and keeps you enthralled until the end. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in WWI YA Fiction and perhaps adventure stories, as well as reluctant readers.
  • (4/5)
    World War 1 books for the middle grade are few and far between. Like all the books Avi writes this one sounds like:

    1. It is meant to be read aloud

    2. A true story

    3. Even though the story may be set long ago and far away the characters seem like they may be your friends.

    In Patryck's small Polish village the Russians have taken control of everything. The school was bombed and people are on edge. Things get worse when the Russians leave and the Germans arrive. His group of friends devises a game wherein they attempt to collect buttons from the soldier's uniforms. They are egged on by a bully type boy (Jarek) that none of them like much, but in a small town, everyone your age is a friend of one kind or another.

    Neither of the invading armies is particularly beneficial to the town. As Patryck's father says- "They aren't Polish" The adults in the community are just as scared as the kids (understandably so) and no one knows what will happen to them next. The overwhelming fear grows as conditions worsen and there are several deaths.

    The overwhelming fear grows as conditions worsen and there are several deaths.

    Verdict- Buy