Concluding the series of books about Ben and Ray, 'Peace Lily' offers a satisfying conclusion to their story and pays tribute to the role played by women in the First World War.
Lily plays with Ben and Ray, joining their childhood games. However, when they head off for war, she is left behind until she becomes a nurse at the front. Here, she finds herself nursing Ben, after Ray rescues him and brings him back to safety. The book ends with their marriage as peace is restored for all.
As usual, the pictures and text combine perfectly to tell the moving and inspirational story of Ben, Ray, Lily and Flo the dog. From the cover where Lily the nurse stands in a field of poppies and daisies, her childhood self looking on with the shadows of Ray and Ben (with his mouse!) in the background to the final spread showing the joyous wedding- a family of mice at Ben's feet, Ray and Flo in the wedding party, poppies and daisies edging the grass bank and a dove of peace flying over them all- the book celebrates friendship and courage.
Told in rhyme, using a rich vocabulary, the story starts with Lily's birth and how her father chose her name. Shown playing as a nurse with her bandaged rabbit, Lily's caring nature leads her to the front line where the book acknowledges the contribution made by the brave women who nursed the wounded. Lily's care for and devotion to her childhood friend are beautifully portrayed and the conditions the nurses worked in - the rats, driving rain, hospital tents, terrible wounds- are not glossed over.
This series offers the perfect way into discussing the harsh realities of the First World War, encouraging empathy and understanding of the role played by so many of our ancestors. They are truly beautiful and are essential for every school library and book corner.
Peace Lily by Hilary Robinson, illustrated by Martin Impey
Strauss House ISBN: 978-0957124554
Flo of the Somme won the 2016 Poetry Category. You can read our review here.