Better schools also encourage their creativity and that is where lateral thinking enters their minds and complements vertical reasoning.
Kids spend a lot of time playing computer games. Some are excellent, others, mind numbing. In the end it is reading that opens the imagination and leads to creative thinking and all its benefits.
“Butterfly Battle – The Story of the Great Insect War” is an example of fiction that teaches kids strategy. Superwasps, who symbolise Nazis and other fascists, invade Leponea, a peaceful butterfly paradise. Robert and his sister Kim, enter the insect world and join in the fight for freedom. In the anti-war story, Robert McKnight soon learns that real war is not just a computer game.
A boy, because of his age and size, obviously cannot be a soldier, let alone a commander. Now the same size as bugs, Robert is their equal. As an expert on computer game strategies, he can command the Insect Allies’ army against the enemy. Robert finds that the organization and pre-war planning is fun. His key battle plan first outwits the enemy, but when they fight back, he has to rethink his tactics. As casualties mount, Robert observes the suffering of his soldiers.
A children’s novel, of course, has to be a page turner with plenty twists, turns and sub plots. Butterfly Battle also puts forward several messages: It is anti-war but also shows that sometimes force cannot be avoided; that sometimes --- like it or not--- the individual has to make a stand and fight evil dictators such as Hitler.
Complete, unchanged review from the prestigious School Librarian, magazine of the UK School Librarian Association:
“This is a highly original and exciting book. It tells the story of a war between the insects: the Superwasps versus the rest. Two pre-pubescent children, Kim and Robert, find themselves shrunken down to insect size and drafted in to help. We follow their adventures and the saving of Leponea, the land of the butterflies, and meet some wonderful characters on the way: Morpho, the brave, resourceful daughter of the emperor of all the butterflies and her husband, Morphan. We also meet the demonical dictator, Wreka, leader of the superwasps. The book is masterly in its interweaving or the lifestyles of various insects with the demands of a modern war story: and Robert’s understanding of military strategy which he learned from his computer games is handled with assurance and effect. Description is a strong point of the book, especially the battle scenes which are magnificently conveyed. They are realistic and convincing, and will allow children to begin to understand something of the horror, as well as the heroism, of all wars. The black and white drawings are sensitive, well researched and detailed, adding a great deal to the visualisation of the text.”
"An exciting, fast-paced book which will appeal to children between 8 and 14": Irene Babsky
Butterfly Battle – The Story of the Great Insect War by Neil Behrmann
(Readmore Books ISBN 0 953 38430)
See other reviews at http://www.readmore-books.com/butterfly-reviews.htm
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Using fiction to teach strategy to kids
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