Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Where Poppies Grow: A World War I Companion

Where Poppies Grow: A World War I Companion

Linda Granfield
For ages 9 to 12
Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2001   ISBN: 978-0773733190

When war broke out in August of 1914 everyone was sure that it would be over by Christmas. Many young men were so eager to join up that they lied about their age so that they would get the chance to fight. Little did they know that the war would last for years and that millions would end up dying. No, in those early days there was a lot of excitement with parades and smart uniforms, high hopes of glory and dreams of medals and honors.

It was only when they got to the front that the soldiers began to realize that war was not at all like life in a training camp. At the front the trenches were soon full of water and mud. Food was even worse than before. There were rats and the lice were impossible to control because they were everywhere. There were deadly diseases which swept through the armies and killed thousands of soldiers.

And of course there was the enemy. The enemy was always there and the enemy was always trying to kill you. Bombs, bullets and gas could maim or kill you at any moment. It was nerve wracking and exhausting, and worst of all the soldiers didn?t understand what was going on half the time. They simply kept on going, hoping to stay alive for one more day, hoping that they would get home in one piece.

In this excellent book the author provides her readers with a vivid picture of what the World War I years were like. Not only does she show us what the soldiers experienced but she also looks at the lives of nurses, spies, the people who waited for the soldiers to come home, the animals who shared the soldier?s lives, and much more. With a wonderfully written text and heavily annotated photographs and pictures of period memorabilia, this is fascinating portrait of an era which many people know very little about.