Flo of the Somme

Longlisted for the Poetry Category of the North Somerset Teachers' Book Award

The third in this series of books tells the story of Flo, a mercy dog working across the dangerous battlefield of the Somme. As with the others, it is a cumulative tale in the style of 'This is the House that Jack Built...'

Powerful text combines with wonderful illustrations to tell Flo's story, linking with Ray from 'Where the Flowers Now Grow' and 'The Christmas Truce'. The reader is reminded from the very start that 'they had no choice' and seeks to pay tribute to the contribution animals made to the First World War.

The subject matter is sensitively handled, yet completely accessible for children young and old and informative for adults. Depicting many of the landmarks of the area, there is a map showing the area in 1914 before the conflict and another in 1918, highlighting the devastation of the battle. The illustrations are packed full of details to linger over and discuss. The troops leave from 'Pals Avenue', different battalions are shown, a glimpse is given of life in the trenches- and everywhere there are animals. Many questions will be posed, encouraging research and discussion. 

Having used both the previous books in class with huge success, 'Flo of the Somme' will make a valuable addition to resources for effectively teaching about this area of history, allowing children to learn about another aspect of the war- the role animals played. Hilary Robinson's verse is very effective and reads beautifully making it a perfect contender for the 'Poetry Category' of our awards.

Flo of the Somme by Hilary Robinson, illustrated by Martin Impey

Strauss House Productions    ISBN: 978-0957124561