Oliver's Wars


101 pages
ISBN 0-7737-5508-X
DDC jC813'.54




Reviewed by Jean Free

Jean Free, a library consultant, is a retired public-school teacher and
librarian in Whitby, Ontario.


Twelve-year-old Oliver Kovak and his twin brother, Jerry, have come from
Moose Jaw to Halifax while their father works as a nurse in the Persian
Gulf War. Jerry seems to adjust well enough to his new school and his
grandparents’ home, while Oliver resents the loss of his friends,
home, and father. But over the course of the story, he makes friends
with his grandfather and manages to overcome teasing by his new
classmates, loneliness at being separated from his father, and a
difficult gym teacher.

This novel about family relationships examines the difficulty
youngsters and adults have communicating with one another—and a host
of other problems: families moving, sibling rivalry, working parents,
changing male roles, performance pressures faced by athletes, and
anxieties over world affairs.

Wilson writes well about appealing and topical subjects suitable for
junior-grade students. Her understanding of young people’s emotions
and problems would strike a chord with young readers. Her use of
historical information (the 1917 Halifax Harbour explosion, the Gulf
War) makes the novel a good choice for classroom study.


Wilson, Budge., “Oliver's Wars,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/24733.