Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 10
- Grade: 2 to 5
- Reading age: 8 to 10
Marwa and Ahmad live in an unnamed country that could be any one of dozens touched by war. While they know that there is a war going on, life in their village goes on largely as normal. Marwa is the narrator of the story, and she tells of a day when planes flew over their village "like a cloud of angry wasps". They are warned that these planes dropped bombs, but after being frightened for a few days they forget of the danger. Until a day when the two are playing and Ahmad finds a small yellow bottle and out of curiosity picks it up. It explodes, and Marwa describes the aftermath as she is cut and scarred, and Ahmad is more gravely hurt - losing a hand and one leg. Both recover and regain hope, and Lisa says she is sharing this story to honour Ahmad's courage and other children like him.
About the authors
Angèle Delaunois is no stranger to the world of literature. Her books have been translated into English, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese and Korean. With a precise and flowing style, she captures and shares feelings and emotions. Filled with curiosity, Angèle Delaunois' books reach a vast audience, from pre-school readers to young adults. Several of her books have become classics and most of them have earned important distinctions, amongst which the novel Variations sur un même « t?aime », for which she received the Governor General Award in Children's Literature.
CHRISTINE DELEZENNE is a graphic designer and an illustrator. She integrates various elements in her art — drawings, textures, collages and photos. She received the prestigious Elizabeth Cleaver Award, offered by IBBY Canada for the illustrations in La Clé. She is also the illustrator of The Little Yellow Bottle. Christine lives presently in the region of Zurich in Switzerland.
- Short-listed, Saskatchewan Young Reader's Choice Award - The Shinning Willow
The use of first-person narrative gives a unique perspective not often realized or understood. Delaunois has Marwa speak with such honesty it reminds the reader that, though children may live in the midst of war, they, themselves, aren't "at war with anyone." ... Delezenne's blend of collage, drawings and texture juxtapose the images of war from a child's perspective. They encapsulate the journey a child of war is forced to take. Though it begins with complete blackness, it can end with a winged soccer ball.
This book is recommended for both school and public libraries. Because of the serious subject of war and the sophisticated illustrations this book could be used as a teaching tool for older grades.
The Little Yellow BottleAs The Little Yellow Bottle begins, Ahmad and Marwa are playing in the small forest that shades their village when Ahmad picks up a little yellow bottle. The bottles have been dropped from airplanes that have flown over their village. Ahmad does not know that the shiny yellow bottle is a bomb, and before Marwa can say anything it explodes. Marwa is badly hurt, but the doctors tell her she will heal. Ahmad is not so lucky. His hand and leg must be amputated and, when he realizes he will never walk or run again, he loses his will to live. But when a special visitor with laughing eyes comes to visit, Ahmad regains hope and learns how to live life to the fullest. Although he never plays soccer again, Ahmad becomes the best coach the village has ever had.
This is a very powerful picture book that could be shared with students from the older primary grades right through to high school. Written in the first person, the prose is simple yet effective, and the illustrations, which blend textures, drawings and collage, elicit strong emotional responses. Although this book tackles a very difficult subject, it leaves us with a positive message and implores us not to forget those children in the world who have been affected by war. This thought-provoking little book would be a worthy addition to any classroom or library and could be used to initiate discussions about the effects of war, abilities/disabilities and hope. This title is also available in French as Une petite bouteille jaune, published by Éditions de l’Isatis.
Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2012. Volume 35 No. 1.
The Little Yellow BottleAhmad and Marwa are playing near their village when Ahmad picks up a little yellow bottle. Ahmad does not know that the bottle is a bomb, and before Marwa can say anything it explodes. With the loss of his hand and leg, Ahmad loses his will to live. A special visitor helps Ahmad regain hope and teaches him how to live life to the fullest. This title is also available in French as Une petite bouteille jaune.
Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Fall, 2012.