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

Monday 13 April 2015

Review: Lest We Forget

When a young boy visits his grandfather, they share stories about the important days in their lives. Days they want to remember, and days they want to forget.

As the young boy shares his memorable moments – his first day at school, the birth of his younger sister, and a walk to school in the sun with a heavy backpack – illustrations reflect similar experiences for his grandfather – leaving for war wearing his new uniform, holding a photo of his newborn child, and trekking through the jungle with wounded men on stretchers.

This clever and touching picture book bridges the generation gap with a way for young children to relate to the experiences of older family members who have served in the military, especially those who were involved in the First and Second World War.

Author Kerry Brown’s text shares the little boy’s stories as he tells them to his grandfather. Illustrators Isobel Knowles and Benjamin Portas have shared the task of illustrating the story, one representing the colourful fun of the childish memories, and the other the wartime memories of the grandfather, whose stories are told only through the illustrations.

Kerry Brown says ‘I wrote this story to encourage open conversation between children and adults. I truly hope it will help bridge the ages and create a level of understanding and empathy from generation to generation.’

The clever format of the story, contrasting the memories of the two different generations, offers children and adults numerous prompts for conversations about the wartime experiences of previous generations. The wartime illustrations are not graphic and show no detailed battle scenes, however they are depicted in darker colours and convey a more sombre tone than the little boy’s colourful memories.

The closing pages of the book acknowledge both Anzac Day (April 25th) and Remembrance Day (11th November).

Lest We Forget is a simple, cleverly-structured book that is ideal for both home and the classroom to offer young children an opportunity to connect with the experiences of our military veterans.

Title: Lest We Forget
Author: Kerry Brown
Illustrator: Isobel Knowles, Benjamin Portas
Publisher: ABC Books, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: 1 March 2015
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780733332333
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book