Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Poppy is to remember

A Poppy is to remember

Heather Patterson
Illustrator:  Ron Lightburn 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 9
Scholastic Canada, 2004   ISBN: 978-0439967860

In 1914 a terrible war was begun, a war which some called "The War to End all Wars" or "The Great War." Many young men died on the fields of France and where they fell scarlet poppies grew. The war ended in 1919 but the poppies did not stop growing or flowering and they became a symbol for thousands of people; a symbol of hope, of peace, and of thanks to those who fell fighting for freedom and justice.

Every year on November 11 people all over the world celebrate the ending of World War I and the remember those who fell in that conflict and other wars that came after. In the United Kingdom it is called Armistice Day, in Canada it is Remembrance Day, and in the United States it is Veteran's Day.

This beautifully and simply written book draws our attention to why we recognize this day, how the poppy became a symbol of remembrance, and it tells the story of one special young man who wrote a poem which has moved generations of people with its beauty and eloquence. Ron Lightburn's unaffected and often luminous oil paintings compliment the text very well.

At the back of the book readers will find the story of the Canadian poet John McCrae who wrote the famous poem " In Flanders Fields." There is also the story of how the poppy came to be a symbol which has been worn on the coat lapels and dresses of countless people. Finally, there is a section about how Remembrance Day is celebrated in Canada.