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Where Poppies Grow: A World War I Companion

by Linda Granfield

While Linda Granfield’s book In Flanders Fields used John McCrae and his famous poem to introduce a young audience to the First World War, her companion volume, Where Poppies Grow, provides a much more comprehensive examination of the conflict and its effects on and off the battlefield. From Edith Cavell to victory gardens, trench warfare to field hospitals, the book covers a wide range of subjects, most of which have received little coverage for children. By including civilian as well as military involvement in the war, Granfield emphasizes how life for all Canadians changed dramatically after August 1914.

Granfield approaches the subject from a Canadian perspective, but comments on and includes materials from several of the Allied nations, creating international appeal for the book while still celebrating the Canadians’ role. Her matter-of-fact style enables her to present sometimes gruesome details without fanfare, and she supplements her narrative with soldiers’ and civilians’ own words, giving her text a poignant intimacy. Lavish illustrations, including facsimiles of newspapers, letters, photographs, and propaganda materials, add detail and texture. This combination of visual and written texts makes the book suitable for a broad spectrum of ages and reading abilities; adults as well as children eight and up will find it informative and compelling.

Where Poppies Grow introduces a wealth of information from diverse resources and presents it in such a visually and intellectually appealing format that it provides a substantial introduction to a complex topic. This text is an outstanding contribution to Canadian and international history for children.