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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion, wirtten by Jane Barclay and illustrated by Renee Benoit. Tundra, 2009. $20.99 ages 4 and up

"My poppa was a soldier.
When he was seventeen years old, he lied about his age so he could join the army and fight for our country in the war. I'm on his bed studying a picture of him in his uniform. His hair is too short and his pants are too long."

As Poppa prepares for attendance at the Remembrance Day service, his grandson peruses an old family photo album which garners many questions. Poppa answers with pride. He wore his uniform proudly, worked hard on the ship that transported him across the ocean and was brave when caught up in armed encounters with the enemy. Prior to the service, Poppa marches in the parade and observes a moment of silence with everyone in attendance. When he places the wreath in honor of his friend, it is a heartfelt and tearful remember never to forget.

This is a lovely way to help young children understand the idea of Remembrance Day. They are able to observe the aging soldier, the service of remembrance, the solemn and touching tributes to those who served. The illustrations transport us to the war years, and back. The warmth of the colors used as the two get ready is replaced by more sombre tones as the service commences and listeners will notice that change.

It is often difficult to help children understand the honor that the services planned are meant to convey. This quiet, lovely book will help us with that, and encourage them to ask queations that need to be answered.

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