For generations the kids from the south and the kids from the north have fought for control of the bay. The rules of war are broken when the northerners’ boathouse is burned down. Revenge makes everything permissible: glass in the sea, oil on the beach and, in extreme circumstances, Plan Five – fire on the water.
Ten-year-old Yifat has come to spend the summer at the bay. She is pressured by the two sides to join their war, but fails in both swearing-in ceremonies. Why should she put her hand in fire and count to ten? Or jump off a cliff to demonstrate her loyalty? When the two leaders, Itamar and David, are thrown out by their followers for being too moderate, the three children join forces in opposition to the war, which is now out of control. As Yifat’s house goes up in flames, the three lead the night-long fight against the fire and are joined by others from both sides, finally united in a common cause.
Aharon Sheba’s brooding black and white etchings and the almost total absence of adults in the story help intensify the dark imitation of grown-ups at war.
Illustrations: Aharon Sheba