New review: Peace Lily by Hilary Robinson & Martin Impey

On International Nurses Day, it’s the perfect time to share this beautiful picture book.  Peace Lily written by Hilary Robinson and illustrated by Martin Impey is the fourth and final picture book in their WW1 picture book series for children, published in the year of the Armistice Centenary marking the end of fighting. The book was published on International Women’s Day (8th March 2018) paying tribute to the contribution of women to the war effort.  

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Peace Lily written by Hilary Robinson and illustrated by Martin Impey

Ever since she was small, Lily wanted to be a nurse.  Her dream becomes real when she takes the brave decision to follow her childhood friends to the battlefield of Western France. Will she ever see them again?

The story begins with young Lily being born and spending her days growing up with her friends Ben and Ray, enjoying the countryside and playing games in the brook.  Beautiful illustrations portray the sunshine and happiness; who could imagine the dark clouds of war looming?  But when war does arrive, Lily has to say goodbye to her friends as they go off to fight and she is soon compelled to join the war effort herself as a nurse.

Told in a lyrical rhyming narrative, we quickly see the stark realities of the battlefields and how brave Lily must be to help the wounded soldiers. Working in a field hospital, the conditions are dire with bombed out buildings all around. And then suddenly Lily realises her dear friend Ben is one of the wounded, and keeps a bedside vigil until he is better.  Nursing him back to health, the war finally ends and Ray, Ben and Lily are reunited at home.  The final scene thankfully tells of a very happy ending, radiantly depicted through Martin Impey’s illustrations.

Peace Lily is a lovely picture book sensitively telling the story of a young girl, her friends and their bravery in the face of war.  Muted pastel illustrations with hints of colour throughout perfectly capture the heart of the narrative.  This would be a wonderful story to read aloud, gently introducing young children aged 4 and above to the ideas around conflict.  Written in rhyme as a tribute to the war poets, Peace Lily and indeed the other titles in the series, are an important and moving commemoration and will help ensure younger generations never forget the sacrifices made by so many.  The story also recognises the huge contribution by women in wartime, nursing those fighting for our freedom.

“Nursing is an art; and if it is to be made an art, it requires as exclusive a devotion, as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work.”

Florence Nightingale 1820-1910

Find out more at www.strausshouseproductions.com

With thanks to Strauss House Productions for sending me this book to review.

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