Louis Pergaud’s classic French novel War of the Buttons is an entertaining and thought-provoking read for all ages. Published in 1912, the book tells the story of two rival gangs of young boys from neighboring villages in France. The children battle with each other by cutting off their buttons as a sign of victory, with each group trying to outwit and outplay the other.
The novel has since been translated into several languages, including English, and has become a popular source for films and theatrical adaptations. It also serves as an important historical document that captures the spirit of childhood just before World War I.
A novel classic way to learn French while reading!
At HypLern, we recently published an interlinear version of War of the Buttons from French to English. This makes it easier for readers to understand the text without having to translate it themselves.
In addition to providing a literary experience for its readers, War of the Buttons also offers some serious insights into war and human behavior in general. For example, young boys are often encouraged by their elders to take part in warlike activities like “warring”—playing at war without understanding its true implications—and this serves as an allegory for how adults view war itself as just another game or form of recreation. The novel also reveals how children can be tricked by those in power into fighting wars they don't fully understand or appreciate, only to suffer devastating consequences when it is too late.
We highly recommend that everyone read Louis Pergaud’s timeless classic War of the Buttons – it is sure to entertain while introducing its readers to deeper themes surrounding war and childhood innocence. The book is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Learn-French-classics-War-Buttons/dp/1989643299/.