Friday, 14 February 2014

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week ending 14th February 2014 - "Where the Poppies Now Grow" by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey (Strauss House Productions)

Where the Poppies Now Grow

Written by Hilary Robinson

Illustrated by Martin Impey

Published by Strauss House Productions

In the Centenary year of the outbreak of World War 1, children's authors and artists have dug deep to come up with many brilliant children's books to ensure that our youngsters never forget the conflict, or the sacrifices made by their ancestors. It's not an easy subject to tackle for children Charlotte's age, though we've looked at several excellent non-fiction books that examine the history to provide facts and figures about the war itself. This is the first fictional title we've encountered, and it's an astonishingly beautiful book.

"Where the Poppies Now Grow" tells the tale of two childhood friends, Ben and Ray, who grow up together, play together - and then go to war together. Hilary Robinson's story slowly builds in prose to tell the boys tale as they deal first hand with the horrors of war. Sensitively written and beautifully illustrated by Martin Impey, we read and enjoyed the story (but I really had to fight hard to keep the tears at bay).

The book triggered deep discussions about the conflict, and what it meant to families to see men - and sometimes boys - heading off to the front, to fight in a war that had such a terrible toll.

It feels like a fitting homage to some of the classic war poems by Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. A timely reminder to us all that the many, many people who died in "The Great War" did so in order that we could live in peace.

It's been asked for again and again by Charlotte, who now wants to find out a little more about members of our family who fought in the First World War (my great great grandfather for instance, who was a gunner and survived the conflict to become a policeman afterwards).

Charlotte's best bit: The boys as old men at the end. So touching.

Daddy's Favourite bit: A hugely important piece of work, absolutely vital to help children learn about and understand the sacrifices made in World War 1

(Kindly sent to us for review by Strauss House Productions)