'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Review: The Red Poppy

This book is a little unbearable.

If I tell you it’s about the moments before storming from the trenches in World War I Germany, you’d probably understand why.

The anticipation, the heart-thundering dread. Knowing you may have only moments to live . . . Counting down – ten minutes to go . . . ten minutes to go . . . two minutes to go . . . The opening pages of this book are heart-stopping – so much so, you hardly want to turn the page.

But turn it, you do -

Jim McCleod is at the centre of this tale. As he throws his body to the ground beneath a hail of bullets, Jim thinks of his mother and sister – would he ever see them again?

As Jim staggers on towards the enemy, he is shot and falls into a deep trench, but little does he know this fall bring him closer to the enemy than he ever imagined.

This is a breathtaking and deeply moving book. It’s about a man, a war, and the basic concepts of humankind. It’s about a dog, an unlikely friendship and the iconic red poppy used to commemorate our fallen.

David Hill has document a fine fictional historical account in The Red Poppy. His voice is clear, evocative, dramatic and beautifully-written. To have war-themed text so emotively and engagingly written is a joy – the text draws you in and makes things you so lively, you can hear the thundering guns, see the bullets smacking the ground and feel the thundering hearts in the chests of these incredible men.

A CD is included at the back of this book, which features an original song written by Rob Kennedy (performed by Giselle Sanderson). Rob was inspired to write Little Red Poppy as a way children could commemorate our lost soldiers. This song is now sung at various observances around the world.

The Red Poppy. You will weep, you will laugh, you will hope. You will remember.

Lest we forget. 

Title: The Red Poppy
Author: David Hill
Illustrator: Fifi Colston
Publisher: Scholastic, $26.99 RRP
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: Soft cover
ISBN: 9781869439989
For ages: 7+
Type: Picture Book