The Good Son: A Story from the First World War, Told in Miniature

Walker Books Australia
ISBN: 9781536204827
The Picture Book of the Year 2020 Notable
This is an amazing book that deserves recognition if only for the comprehensive collage/photographed artwork. Describing the challenges of bringing life to stiff 'little plastic men' makes explicit the creative problem solving involved in recreating this broad-sweeping, universal WWI moral dilemma. The narrative itself, based on a true story, is powerful history, told in a restrained, yet evocative way. Identifying distinct points of tension, it describes grim irony so evident in the context of war, and the human quandaries that emerge from political expediency. Not a picture book narrative for younger readers, the detailed work put into the tiny miniature figurines is compelling viewing. The story is told through crowd scenes, snowy landscapes, isolated figures and maps. Both black and white and colour are used, as well as fire and flickering candlelight. Ober also uses cinematic techniques such as depth of field, out-of-focus shots and muted, shadowy interiors to create atmosphere and verisimilitude. Endpapers lovingly describe the process employed to create an exceptional piece of artwork.