Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

There come a Soldier

There come a Soldier

Peggy Mercer
Illustrator:  Ron Mazellan 
Picture Book
For ages 6 and up
Handprint Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-1593541927

Estlee Ted Mercer becomes a soldier when his country needs him to. He leaves his home in Georgia and trades in the fields, the creeks, and his loved ones for paratrooper training and an unknown future on the front in Europe. Thankfully his life on the sharecroppers farm in Georgia was filled with experiences which help him to do well in his training and in the fight that follows. He knows how to keep on going when he is exhausted. He knows how to overcome his fears, and he knows how to patiently wait for the right time.

The young soldier parachutes into the Ardennes forest where he is responsible for several men and where he has to try to survive the war and the freezing winter weather. The soldier finds a barn to rest in for a while. Just a short rest and then he will be able to "hang on forever." In that barn the young man comes literally face to face with the enemy and he remembers something which his mother said to him long ago: "Always be a brother."

This remarkable book was written by Estlee Ted Mercer's daughter. The love and admiration which she feels for her father comes through and her lyrical writing is a joy to read. With great skill Peggy Mercer effortlessly shifts between the story of her father's war, and his memories of life in the country. In large part it is his memories which carry him through his ordeal in France and which help him to make the right choices at a very difficult moment in his life.

With stunning illustrations and a memorable story, this picture book serves as a fitting tribute to all those young men who left home to fight in a distant land.