Jan Wahl brings us a wonderfully descriptive tale of a shepherd named Uillame (pronounced Wee-yam). One night, while out with his sheep, he meets a mysterious visitor with an important message. Uillame realises that it's up to him to make a change in the world and so after returning the sheep to the safety of his master, he sets off to do exactly that.
Along the way, he is joined by children from all the towns and villages, all of whom miss their loved ones who are fighting in a war. They face many hurdles, countless obstacles, often being ridiculed by many of the adults but determination prevails.
This is a brilliant and provocative story which is great for all ages. It begs to be read aloud with all of its colourful and stunning descriptions. I love that in the back of this book it contains questions for discussion. Questions that make you consider war and its effects in greater depth. Questions that also invite you, as an adult, to discuss war in an informative and educational way with your children and maybe, just maybe, help form a generation willing to make change.
I think Jan Wahl sums up perfectly in the beginning of the book, just how war affects children. While being aware of missing family members, war isn't given much thought. If they don't think about it, how can they ever hope to stop the endless cycles. It's the way it has always been and the way it always be unless we find ways to change it. Reading this book with your child is a fantastic start.
First published in 1969, it's easy to see how this timeless tale continues to enchant readers in every generation.