On Anzac Day 1918, a desperate night counter-attack on the village of Villers-Bretonneux became one of Australia's greatest victories in the First World war. Villers-Bretonneux is 'The town that never forgets'. The Poppy is the story of a 100-year bond and friendship between France and Australia.
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.
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.
Robyn Donoghue, Goodreads
Plant’s language is accessible, simple in its retelling but poetic in its delivery. The visual imagery he creates with his words is impeccable, like the vision of the poppies and their petals that “turn the fields red where once they were stained with the blood of the fallen.”
The Poppy is a book of remembrance and togetherness; a book about the sacrifices that are made in war and the people that never forget these. It’s a book perfect for primary school readers and one that belongs in the history section of every library.
Francine Sculli, Teacher
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 …
… I highly recommend it for exploring themes around ANZAC day in the classroom.
Cath Oehlman, Teacher
[T]his new book by illustrator Andrew Plant is aptly named, beautifully told and superbly illustrated …
Starting on the front cover with the brilliant red of the poppy set in front of ghostly images of other poppies entwined in barbed wire and against a background of stormy black skies, this is a beautiful “photo-essay” of the story of Villers-Bretonneux … Except the photos are not photos – they are eerily haunting paintings … Bordered in black and accompanied by simple text in white, their bright colours are a stunning contrast which suggests feelings of hope and future and endurance …
No doubt as the centenary commemorations of World War I begin, we will see many new titles published, but this one that encapsulates all that we associate with the poppy is a must-have.