by Baillie, Allan. (Ticknor and Fields, 1994 ISBN 0-395-69250-4) Picture Book. 32 pages. Grades 3+.
This book was reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.
A General marches his troops and tanks into a small village in Burma. He declares that he will now control the lives of all the villagers. As he is giving his speech, a child's thong is thrown at him. The general orders all the school children to be brought before him. He makes his troops search for the child who is wearing only one thong. Instead of finding the rebel, the general sees a large pile of thongs and every one of the children and their teachers bare footed. Having lost face and having become the laughing stock of the village, the general departs with his troops. The bookjacket states that this story is based on an incident that occurred in Rangoon.
Students should probably locate Rangoon on a map and do enough research to figure out the time that this event might have happened. The idea of everyone looking guilty so that the authorities cannot find one culprit should get people talking about whether this has ever been done successfully in their previous experiences. Why didn't the General just shoot everyone as dictators have done sometimes in the past? Turning anger away with laughter is another thread some readers might like to pick up and look for in actual historical events.