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The Conquerors

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The general of a large and mighty country invades and conquers each of its neighboring countries, one by one. Eventually, all the countries in the world are conquered but oneand that one is so small it doesn't not even have an army. And so, of course, when the day comes that the general is unable to resist invading the small country, the outcome is inevitable. Or is it?David McKee's profound story and delightful childlike pictures send a special message that is all the more effective for framing a quiet plea for peace.

25 pages, Hardcover

First published February 25, 2004

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About the author

David McKee

495 books92 followers
David McKee was a British writer and illustrator, chiefly of children's books and animations. He also used the pseudonym Violet Easton. He is frequently referenced as David (John) McKee. He has been commended for his gentle, playful but insightful stories.

For his contribution as a children's illustrator he was UK nominee for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2006.

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5 stars
47 (38%)
4 stars
41 (33%)
3 stars
26 (21%)
2 stars
5 (4%)
1 star
3 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews
Profile Image for Kate Donaldson.
39 reviews3 followers
May 6, 2011
Falls short of its "anti-war" message; mostly because in the end, the general and his country still believe they've conquered the tiny country. At the end, the tiny country is, essentially, an autonomous region (see Chinese policies on minority regions and countries, e.g. Tibet and Urumqi). Not entirely sure what the moral of this story is - just because the tiny country didn't fight back doesn't mean they "won" - the big country's soldiers got assimilated into the local population (which is what China has done in Lhasa, where more than 50% of the population is now Han Chinese). The small bits of culture from the tiny country that have seeped into the big country don't really make up for the fact that the big country still conquered them.

Very weird kids book, must say.
Profile Image for Neda.
427 reviews76 followers
January 1, 2021
Well, they say you cannot talk about peace unless you talk about war! Well, that's the case! McKee talks about a tiny country with no military so they cannot fight the general. Instead, they invite the soldiers to their homes and play games with them and cook their ethnic food.
The interesting thing about this book, in my opinion, is that the general never changes, I wish he had! The soldiers change, so does the reader, but the general remains as he had been; he likes wars and conquering people's territory. When everything is the general's country is substituted little by little, by those of the tiny country, then who's the real conqueror? But the general takes himself as the conqueror!
May 31, 2012
The Conquerors
By David McKee
This is a wonderful parable that tells of a mighty country that believed their way of life was the best. They set about conquering all the other countries until there was just one small country left. The small country offered no resistance to their attack and welcomed them into their homes. Bit by bit the small country’s culture and customs are adopted by their invaders.
This is a book that would be best read aloud to a class and would make a brilliant stimulus for a philosophy for children lesson. It is simply written and yet rich with ideas and principals that reflect some of the growing dilemmas of our time.
I think this book would be well received by both key stage 1 and 2 children, as the questions that arise from reading it are huge and can be tackled at any level. I loved this story and I can’t recommend it enough. I can’t wait to use this with a class and look forward to reading more of David McKee’s work.
Profile Image for Karen.
Author 9 books26 followers
May 26, 2015
I'm not sure what I expected from this book -- humor, maybe, judging by the cover -- but this book doesn't deliver anything.

I guess it is supposed to be an anti-war message, but it's not even that. Just because a small country doesn't fight a larger country back doesn't mean that the smaller county has won -- usually it just means that country has been subsumed.
Profile Image for فاطمه  محمدی.
30 reviews1 follower
April 12, 2022
به نظر من نوشتن یک داستان صلح‌جو، خیلی کار دشواریه. مخصوصن اگر این داستان برای بچه‌ها باشه. چون شاید توضیح دلایل علت‌های شروع یک جنگ، بدون جانبداری، برای بچه‌ها سخت باشه. این کتاب جانبداری نداشت اما حس می‌کنم پلاتش هنوز روشن نبود. لازم نیست که دلایل منطقی باشن اما حداقل در جهان داستان بگنجن.
Profile Image for Just a Girl Fighting Censorship.
1,833 reviews112 followers
May 14, 2022
What a fascinating children's book. The overall concept is very thought provoking. The General's army has conquered everyone except for one place. When his armies arrive the natives don't put up a fight and they are taken in by the people and culture and bring it back with them. The soldiers that are left behind are absorbed into society. So who really conquered who? It reminded me of how American culture and ideas is what really led to the fall of the Berlin wall, not politics or military might.

The illustrations aren't for me, which is really the only thing stopping me from saying this is perfect (5 stars).
Profile Image for Scott Houston.
72 reviews
November 30, 2013
This semester I was very surprised to see how competitive my first and third graders were, and how often they would say they were not friends with one another. This is a fun book I would like to read with students, because the characters use kindness to defeat an army that has conquered the entire world. A general and his army have conquered the entire map except for The small country too tiny to have its own army. The new country welcomes them into their homes, and bit by bit the small country’s culture and customs are adopted by the invaders. I would recommend this book to students who are aggressive to their classmates.
Profile Image for sarafem.
219 reviews33 followers
March 15, 2008
Another great story about the futility of war. The army of a rich country invades its neighbors one by one - except for one country, that is so small that the general can't be bothered with it. Eventually they have conquered the entire world and made everyone just like them - except for this one tiny country. After some time passes, the army becomes bored and the general decides to finally conquer this one last country. The result would seem inevitable, but the tables get turned as a unified, happy small group of people proves that joy is infectious and victorious.
7 reviews1 follower
September 30, 2016
I love the message in this book, about personal boundaries and how power struggles are not an effective way to maintain your own personal power. That fighting back is likely a losing battle. There are some really good bullying messages here.

I love how the little country greets the intruder with love and acceptance, and doesn't change their way of doing things. They stand by what they know to be true and good, and instead assume that the conquerors are here to learn more about how they do things. Everybody wins.
Profile Image for Kelli Ryne.
23 reviews3 followers
June 29, 2010
The title is pretty self-explanatory. When students discuss empires, I would use this book to discuss various ways of "conquering" land and what is the most effective. They could use this to compare some of Alexander the Great's methods of inter-marriage in order to assimilate people into the empire as opposed to the Chinese method of conquering and keeping the people separate.
Profile Image for Teri.
157 reviews
February 4, 2013
Great little picture book that provokes much thought.... why do nations go to war? what do they gain? how do cultures merge? Also recalls this verse by Edwin Markham: “He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic , rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle and took him In !
100 reviews
November 21, 2011
This brilliantly told story shows how an army is treated so kindly by the people of the land they invade, that they forget about conquering the land. A story of love, peace, and friendship. Good for a sense of community in the classroom.
Profile Image for Carrie Gelson.
1,242 reviews72 followers
November 7, 2012
I found this book to be wonderfully brilliant. Raises great questions. Conquering for what purpose? The point of war is . . . ? What if there is no resistance? Where does the passion to rule come from?
20 reviews1 follower
October 7, 2013
The little country conquered the big country with peace.
Profile Image for Aslı Can.
658 reviews209 followers
July 14, 2017
Savaş üzerine çocuk kitabı yazmak zor bir iş olsa gerek ve bence yazar bu işin altında pek kalkamamış. Bir çocukla birlikte okunacaksa okuduktan sonra kitaptan ne anladığı üzerine konuşmak lazım bence.
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews

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