Book Review, Picture Books

Where the Poppies Now Grow: First World War series by Hilary Robinson & Martin Impey

This series of award-winning, intensely powerful picture books highlight key moments and individuals of the First World War. Using story told in verse and rhyming poems that build up line-by-line, page-by-page, there is strength in every word that communicates such important details of war, peace and the legacy that remains. Following the story of Ray, Ben, and also their friend, Lily, these beautiful books show the circle of life from peace to hardship and back to peace. War is horrible and these stories do not shy away from that. Instead, they present it in a sensitive manner with hope on every page. Children of a range of ages will grow from these books with their parents and teachers – grow in knowledge, grow in understanding, grow in empathy, grow in hope and grow in peace.

Where the Poppies Now Grow

This hard-hitting book shows the journey from innocent childhood to the terror of war. Each page develops the harsh realities of trench warfare and the brave men who fought there. It does not shy away from issues of death and sacrifice but presents them in a way that evokes strong feelings in readers. Emotions leap off the page through the incredible illustrations and pull readers into the story. Young readers will see how men who were once young children like them gave everything for peace and, beautifully, lived to remember those they lost so many years later.

The Christmas Truce – The Place Where Peace was Found

The Christmas Truce is a gorgeous Christmas carol of Remembrance. Full of rich vocabulary exploring the powerful reality of Christmas Day 1914, this story communicates a beautiful message. The soft, emotive illustrations show both the reality of the hardships of war as well as the peace and universality of the messages of Christmas. Peace was found, if only for one day. The impact of their sacrifice has been felt for generations since as shown in the final illustration. We will forever be grateful to these men who gave up so much.

Flo of the Somme

Flo of the Somme is a tribute to the animals who joined in the war effort and showed every bit as much bravery as the human soldiers they supported. From a pigeon delivering messages to a donkey carrying wounded soldiers to enthusiastic Flo, a medical dog, bringing supplies and finding the way across the battlefield, each courageous animal shows strength and perseverance through the most challenging situations. These animals didn’t just help with the war effort but saved lives. The illustrations in this gorgeous book are full of incredible details. Each page shows another aspect of the danger that soldiers and their animals found themselves in every day. This reality paired with the hope of the story is just the message children need to hear.

Peace Lily

Slightly different from the first three books, Peace Lily is a picture book told in verse without the repetition. The story develops on each page, showing how the innocence of childhood can’t last forever. The world is always changing and children have to grow up and step up to answer their country’s call. Peace Lily shows the strength of the women who chose to serve on the front line as nurses. Not content to leave it all to the boys, they faced the same horrors and did all they could to help the soldiers survive. The strength of the friendship of Ray, Ben and Lily pours out of the powerful illustrations as they battle through hardships and come out the other side.

Thank you to Strauss House Productions for these wonderful books!

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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