How the World Was: A California Childhood TP
Publisher: First Second
Release Date: August 12, 2014
Price: $19.99
Creator: Emmanual Guibert
Format: 160 pgs., 6" x 9-1/4", Black & White, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-5964-3664-0
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5
For people who have already read Alan's War, Guibert's adaptation of Alan Cope's later memoirs, this serves as a fascinating introduction to the early life of the same character.  Unfortunately, some strange errors crept in, and it is difficult to tell whether the errors were made by Cope, Guibert, the editor or the translator.  As an example, a windstorm is described in terms that are very dramatic, but the listed wind speed is flatly impossible.
To a greater extent than the book about Cope's life as an adult, this one is full of odd digressions and snippets of family life, so it is a very low-key book.  While most of the stories in the book are very interesting, some tend to ramble, and Guibert's structuring of the story permits that to happen.  While the description of how to make an outrageous wagon-toy to ride down the hill is cute, the overall book is full of odd little bits that really have limited impact.  It is much shorter than Alan's War, and feels much less substantial.  Guibert's illustrations of Depression-era California are good.  Cope's descriptions of a child's life during the Great Depression are valuable insights into that period.
A good book for adults who want something quiet and literary, but it may not appeal to everyone.
--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.