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Publisher's Summary

The war happened, but only Bobby Booclear remembers it. It lasted less than a day but, in less than six hours, an 11-year-old boy became a war criminal. In Westchester County, New York. It's that kind of story. And Bobby is, finally, telling his version of what happened on that day, in 1954. In a rousing tale filled with cap guns, spin-the-bottle, flavored ice cubes, water bombs, fireworks, and more hammy death scenes than your parents would ever let you watch when you were little, first-time author Bob Nick Shields re-creates a long-ago summer and the thrill of innocence in a funny and touching fictional account of what it was like to be a kid before every family had a television.

©2014 Bob Nick Shields (P)2014 Bob Nick Shields

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Blast from the Past

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Damn good book and well read.

What did you like best about this story?

The innocence of the characters and the ability of the narrator to bring the characters to life.

Which scene was your favorite?

Roof top "Court Martial"

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

To hell and back before lunch.

Any additional comments?

David Winograd many thanks for a job well done and the memories.Nick Shields picked the right man for the job.Great story and perfect voice for the plot. David you are a true story teller.Excellent pacing and great characterization really added life to the story.Loved the "roof top" Court Martial.What a nice way to spend 2 plus hours on a lazy day.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A charming little story

If you could sum up The Great Big War in three words, what would they be?

Relives childhood memories

What does David Winograd bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

David's narration brings a different spin on the "voices" of the characters than one hears inside his/her own mind when just reading the dialog.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

War, Peace, and Koolaid

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Charming stroll down memory lane

This is Bobby Booclear’s story. He remembers the day long war clearly and is finally telling his side. In a time when kids could play outside during daylight and girls weren’t allowed in war games, Bobby reenacts some of the great big screen death scenes of his time.

This is a tale of childhood days gone by. Bobby is a kid playing with his buddies from the apartment building. Based on the movie references in this book, perhaps it is the 1960s. There’s a field near the apartment building and the kids organize a war with two sides and objectives. Everyone has some sort of toy weapon. These kids take their play very seriously! That made me smile because it made me recall childhood games and how seriously we all would take them sometimes.

There’s only 2 women in this book. One is a kid just heading into puberty. A game of spin-the-bottle leaves Bobby feeling left out, poor dude. Then there is Bobby’s mom who makes all the kids tasty Kool-Aid ice cubes. While the men far out number the women in this book, they still contributed to the story.

I was charmed by Bobby because he takes his acting so seriously, especially his death scenes. In fact, there is a point later in the story where the death scenes are critiqued by the other boys. It was quite amusing!

I think due to my age (I’m in my 30s), some of the cultural references went over my head. Also, I have never lived in a big city or an apartment building. So some parts of this tale didn’t resonate as much with me as they might with other readers. Still, there was enough here in the story itself that I enjoyed hanging out with Bobby for a few hours.

I received this audiobook at no cost from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration: David Winograd did a good job. He made a good Bobby Booclear, especially since the story is told from older Bobby’s voice as a long flashback to his childhood. I also enjoyed his serious warrior boy voices for when the kids were pretending to be generals or what not.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Fun Story, Reminded Me of My Childhood

This was a cute little story that reminded me of playing war when I was a kid. My brothers and I would often play war with our neighbor. It took me a while to get into it though. At first it kind of seemed like a bunch of random events. There was no real story. Once the play war starts the story starts and I was interested from that point on and really enjoyed it.

The kids in this book really commit to their play war. It was fun to read about kids taking their play so seriously because that's how I remember playing too. I loved how the different parts of the playground and neighborhood were described as the different sections of the battlefield. It was just like something you would hear a child say if they were playing. I also enjoyed the main character's insights into the social politics of the neighborhood he lived in.

The author has managed to capture the voice of a child really well in this story and it's a fun treat to read and or listen to. I listened to the audiobook narrated by David Winograd and he brought his own quirky spin to it. By the end of the book I was enjoying his take on this story and loved the way he voiced the main character.

All in all a fun read. The main reason I enjoyed it is that it reminded me of playing war when I was a kid and any story that reminds me of being a kid is a good one in my book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

The Great Big War

What made the experience of listening to The Great Big War the most enjoyable?

The fact that kids really DO think that their play is so serious.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Bobbie Boocleer,because he can stop a war for ice pops!lol

What about David Winograd’s performance did you like?

I love Mr Winograd's performance,as I do all the books he narrates.He brings the right inflection to every character he voices.

Any additional comments?

This story was fun,short,and fun.It was about what kids really think when they 'play'.The war was real and they knew it.They also knew that when the ice pops were ready ,the war was paused.The narrator,Mr Winograd,brings kids voices to life as well as adults.He can sneer,be sweet,whatever and you believe him.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

War is Hell! And Kool Aid Ice Cubes!

What made the experience of listening to The Great Big War the most enjoyable?

Reminding me of days long gone when the Schmalfeldt brothers defended our side of Turtle Creek against the evil Bousman brothers. We were seriously at war!

What did you like best about this story?

The author's use of language. He paints a colorful tableau that should be familiar to anyone who ever was a boy, or a girl -- for that matter -- with a smug sense of superiority about what a ninny her brothers were.

What does David Winograd bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

David brings the book to LIFE! His pacing, his character voices. It was like the best of old time radio, and he set a very clear scenario in my mind that made the book all that much more enjoyable.

If you could rename The Great Big War, what would you call it?

Blood, Sweat and Great Acting!

Any additional comments?

The first part of the story, when our hero was a baby. I don't feel his recollections of VJ day add anything to the story, nor does he carry that theme in any way into the narrative. I was starting to feel that way about his relationship with the African American kid in the early part of the book, but -- without spoiling it -- that youngster has a part to play in the great battle.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful