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In Flanders Fields

by Mcrae

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From School Library Journal
Grade 4 Up-Jorgensen and Harrison-Lever have set their picture book in the gray and bloody landscape of the World War I trenches. "Early on Christmas morning the guns stop firing. A deathly silence creeps over the pitted and ruined landscape." A soldier sees a robin trapped in barbed wire and decides to rescue it, protected from the German snipers only by his white silk scarf tied to his bayonet. The illustrations perfectly reinforce the somber tone of the story-the soldiers are drawn in gray tones with touches of khaki, against which the bird shines brightly, as does the momentary triumph of the human spirit. "And as he walks away, from the trenches behind him he can hear hoarse, lonely voices beginning to sing: "Stille nacht, heilige nacht-." Although the incident may be completely fictional, the book stands as a powerful story and could easily be paired with Linda Granfield's In Flanders Fields (Stoddart, 2000) and Michael Foreman's retelling of the 1914 Christmas Day cease-fire in War Game (Arcade, 1994).
Kathleen Whalin, York Public Library, ME
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Book Description
An eloquent counterpoint to the senselessness and inhumanity of war, In Flanders Fields tells the story of a young homesick World War I soldier, who risks his life to cross the no-man's land and rescue a robin caught in the barbed wire that separates the opposing forces, dug into their trenches. This moving picture book is a plea for compassion and would make a perfect Veteran's Day gift.

About the Author
Norman Jorgensen was born in Broome, Australia in 1954. The eldest of four boys, he lived in several country towns before his parents settled in the hills above Perth. His interest in history and World War I was fired by Saturday afternoon films and the novels he read as a boy. He has had a lifelong passion for books and has spent many years working as a bookseller. He now lives in an old house in Perth with his partner Jan.

Born in England, Brian Harrison-Lever arrived in Australia as a young teenager in the 1950s. A teacher of drawing and design, he has had a lifelong interest in mountains. He was co-founder of Western Australia's first Himalayan trekking company, leading eighteen high altitude adventures. But he continues to see illustrating children's books as his greatest challenge. He has two adult children and lives in Tasmania with his wife.



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