Hilary Robinson’s book tells the story of Ben and Ray, two young boys. Starting with them playing we follow as they become caught up in the events of the Great War. The story begins simply with the children playing in the field where the poppies now grow. As the story continues the two friends sign up to the army and their childhood play at war becomes very real.
Similarly to Hilary’s earlier series the story is created simply but with great emotion for the reader regardless of age. Martin Impey’s gentle watercolour drawing complement the poem perfectly with lots of hidden details and historic references particularly newspaper cuttings on the walls of the barn in the boys childhood and later in the barricades. Also the echoes of the barb wire in the trenches and in the countryside growing up.
This book has come out at a perfect time as we remember the First World War and is a welcome addition to children’s books. The next book in the series will be called ‘The Christmas Truce’.