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

Thursday 1 February 2024

Review: Wear a Purple Poppy

We wear red poppies to remember our soldiers that served in the wars.

 Purple poppies are worn to represent the animals – trackers and messengers, that served in various capacities during war.

The Dicken Medal and the Blue Cross Medal are awarded to animals for courage and bravery. 

In 2019, the 24th February was declared National Day for War Animals by the Australian Parliament. This day is also observed by New Zealand.

The roles of horses, mules and camels in wartime are often spoken about.

 It is commonly known how successful pigeons were in carrying messages across great distances.

Elephants are rarely referred to, but their strength was invaluable in moving logs when building bridges.

Dogs were also used to carry messages through danger zones. As they were courageous and loyal, they served as therapy dogs and mascots for the wounded and traumatised soldiers.

The famous Australian dog, Digger, was awarded the Blue Cross Medal for his action in taking food to injured men during WW1. 

Cats also played a large role in controlling rats on ships. They too, were used as mascots.

Kathleen O’Hagan’s vibrant colours and bold images fill the pages with representations of the animals that accompanied and served soldiers in war.

The outstanding cover shows the main characters, large and proud, walking together.

Each page owns a unique design. The end pages are covered in magnificent purple poppies.  

This is a subject that I haven’t come across before in a picture book. Informative and poetically presented, it is well-researched and successfully showcases the animals that served in war.

Title: Wear a Purple Poppy
Author: Fiona White
Illustrator: Kathleen O'Hagan 
Publisher: Hachette, $ 24.99
Publication Date: 31 January 2024
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780734421630
For ages: 5 – 10
Type: Picture Book