Author/Illustrator: Andrew Plant
Publisher: Ford St Publishing
2014 marks the beginning of the centenary commemorations of World War 1, and perfectly timed is the release of The Poppy from Ford St.
Several picture book titles are currently available around the theme of ANZAC Day (and I expect we will see more this year). This one tells the story of Australia’s connection with Villers-Bretonneux; a small French village where the flags of Australia and France still fly side by side today.
The Poppy is an excellent book for classroom use, with much to explore and discuss. Author-Illustrator Andrew Plant travelled twice to Villers-Bretonnuex and spent two years researching, designing, and painting – and it shows. There are over 60 paintings in the book, rich with detail about the buildings, monuments, carvings and streets of the village. Of particular interest is the black background of each page, mirrored in the glossy black cover, and the way the black serves to “frame” each of the paintings. Plant cleverly uses multiple frames of the same image, showing readers a close up view and then zooming out to an aerial perspective. This gives some insight into the magnitude of war, and its far reaching effects. The only non-black pages are the endpapers, which are maps of the village of Villers-Bretonneux and the Australian National Memorial in France.
The Poppy is bold, and appropriately heavy. While it is not a style I personally gravitate towards, I highly recommend it for exploring themes around ANZAC day in the classroom.
- ANZAC Day preparation
- Teachers of middle – upper primary
- Family discussion about war
- Symbolism of the poppy
* I received The Poppy courtesy of Ford St Publishing. No payment was received for this review and all opinions are my own.