What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows? True Stories of Imagination and Courage is a book of What Ifs, but a lot cooler than, “What if you were a dog?” or “What if you were green?” It is, “What if people fought by not fighting? By using soccer, pens, seeds, and music and other non-violent materials and ways.”
Each page, or you could consider them chapters, talks about true life events that helped people by planting food, playing soccer and so much more. Each example that Heather Camlot created is a true story. Each one asks people to think big and find a big solution like the people here did. We see World War II pilots that would meet up years later to tour and talk about the day a German pilot said he would not shoot down a disarmed American plane as it was not following the “rules of good conduct in war.” While knowing not doing so could end in his own execution when he returned home. We see how a nation in a bloody civil war, came together to root for their country in a soccer match. And we see all these extraordinary events through the illustrations of Serge Bloch.
This is where things lost it a bit for me. The artwork of Bloch I am assuming was to curb the seriousness of things with some off-beat humor. The illustrations are not meant to be funny, but they are odd, goofy, not realistic, and possibly even a little disturbing for some. If the illustrations were “cute” it would take away from the seriousness. If they were darker or more realistic it would make the book too dark. Therefore, they work for what is needed, but they can be off putting.
For the older crowd, the picture book format might turn them off. Yet, it probably is best for the first to third/low fourth grades. The traditional picture book crowd might not appreciate what is presented.