The Poppy Ford Street RRP $26.95
The Poppy by Andrew Plant begins with a dark and ominous scene of a poppy field where battles in the past left many thousands of soldiers dead. A single poppy takes flight across the field and floats over the memorial at Villers-Bretonneux where French and Australian flags fly side-by-side. So begins the true story of a village that never forgets the sacrifices made by Australian soldiers freeing their country from the German invaders during World War 1.
The book’s simple message: Villers-Bretonneux never forgets and nor should we, is delivered with such pure intent and sentiment that it takes your breath away. The artwork is stunning and the text is simple enough for primary aged children, while still delivering a deep message.
As the poppy floats over different parts of the village, the story of Australia’s involvement in World War 1 is revealed. The image of the poppy becomes increasingly more powerful, as it represents the human condition at its most potent. Destruction, carnage, death, grief, sacrifice, hope, regeneration, gratitude and memory, play significant parts in this story.
Many of the paintings depict how ingrained the importance of remembering is to the people of Villers-Bretonneux and the efforts they have taken, to ensure that the soldiers are not forgotten. They are powerful and heartfelt and touch deep inside. It is a book so extraordinary and pure that I for one will always reach for, as it is has penetrated deep into my very being.
The timing is fitting as we approach the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. One can only hope that this book becomes a standard resource in all schools. I cannot recommend it highly enough as a book teaching children the significance of remembering and its positive impact on life.