There may be no explaining the civil war in the morass that used to be Yugoslavia, but this little volume offers abundant proof of its horror. Compiled by the United Nations' Children's Fund (UNICEF), the book offers sometimes profound, always poignant drawings and bitterly poetic essays by children on all sides of the conflict.
"We are children without a country and without hope," writes 14-year-old Dunja next to a watercolor of a bombed church. "I had a new tricycle, red and yellow and with a bell.... Do you think they have destroyed my tricycle too?" asks Nedim, a 5-year-old refugee.
A gallery of photographs loses impact because there are no captions. The editors also do the writers a disservice by editing their work sloppily. One child, for instance, is allowed to overwrite: "War is the saddest word that flows from my quivering lips. It is a wicked bird that never comes lo rest." If ever a case didn't need overstating, it's that of these children. Their artwork alone speaks eloquently of their acute understanding of fear, death and destruction. (HarperCollins, $12.95)