Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood is Book 4 in the Hazardous Tales Series by Nathan Hale and was published May 13th 2014 from Amulet Books an imprint of Abrams. Other titles in the series include One Dead Spy, Big Bad Ironclad and Donner Dinner Party (which I already put on hold from the library). Graphic novels seem to be pretty popular with kids, mine included. When volunteering, books about World Wars and guns seem to circulate quite frequently, so there defiantly seems like an interest in this area. However, when thinking about other nonfiction graphic novels, I can only think of one called Graphic Dinosaurs. Yet, I'm sure there are many others that I haven't heard of yet either. I can say that when this arrived, I lost it for a few days and had to promise not to donate it to the school library until after my child was able to finish it. The librarian at school is excited for me to drop this off to add to the nonfiction books they currently have.
Hazardous Tales begins with a prologue telling the tale of Nathan Hale waiting to be hanged, when he is thrust into the books of history. For Hale to save himself, he must to tell more tales to the hangman and a British Provost Marshall. (I believe this took place in the first book-One Dead Spy). In Treaties, Trenches, Mud, and Blood, Hale details the events surrounding World War I starting with the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand going all the way to the signing of the Armistice in 1918. There is lots of information provided on what caused the war, various battles, how many troops were lost by each side, all to illustrate how World War I was the beginning of a new type of war, one that was both global, brutal and involved new types of weapons (tanks, machine guns etc.). A tough feat to under take in my opinion, and I can just imagine the amount of research that he must have done. Yet, Hale is able to take this rather complex topic and interjects humor into it. I loved how he used animals to represent each of the countries involved in the war. For example, France was represented by a Rooster and the Griffin, Wolf and Bear represented Austro-Hungarian Empire, Serbia and Russia. I can see how this would be entertaining for children. Me, I occasionally go lost because I was trying to remember who was represented by who, but Hale included some maps which brought me back to the events. At the end of the book, Hale provides quotes from people like Hemingway, Tolkien and Steinbeck, saying that he isn't the one to judge whether war is necessary or not but leaves it for people who experienced it to determine. There is also a great Bibliography listing books and illustrated comics for further reference.
Via Nathan Hale's website, he is also an avid Lego collector and there is some awesome constructions that he made about this book. They are really worth taking a look http://spacestationnathan.blogspot.com/
My review copy was provided as a part of a giveaway hosted by Wordspelunking.blogspot.com and Abrams Books. A big thank you to the both of them.