My enormous thanks to Megan Brownrigg of Strauss House Productions for contacting me to see if I would like a copy of Peace Lily by Hilary Robinson, illustrated by Martin Impey, in return for an honest review. Being obsessed by WW1, how could I refuse?
Peace Lily is available for purchase here.
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, soldiers Ben and Ray, to the dangerous battlefields of Western France. Will she ever see them again?
Peace Lily is the fourth story in the award-winning series by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey, set during World War 1. It not only pays tribute to the valuable contribution of women to the war effort but also shows how, after the chaos and distress of the long and painful battle, peace is eventually found both on land and in hearts.
The final book in this delightful and moving series brings all four stories together in a celebration of life and in the eternal hope of a new beginning.
There’s a lovely trailer for Peace Lily that you can watch here.
My Review of Peace Lily
WW1 is raging and Lily becomes a nurse and follows her friends to France.
What a glorious, magnificent book Peace Lily is. I loved every aspect of it; from the quotation from Florence Nightingale that precedes the story to the uplifting ‘photograph’ album at the end.
Firstly it introduces WW1 in an accessible and acceptable way to children so that they can develop an understanding without too many gory and disturbing features. Lily’s friend Ben is injured with a threat of death but he survives, for example. The themes of war, friendship, family and duty are subtly presented.
The language in Peace Lily is also very accessible and children could read it independently as well as enjoy having it read to them. The rhythm of the story flows effortlessly and the rhyme scheme used is natural and would help develop children’s language, especially where there are homophones. The iterative refrain of ‘It’s Lily, it’s me‘ gives a smashing coherence and also suggests that even as we age and have new experiences, the essence of who we are remains. This is reinforced by the initial, beautiful illustration showing Lily as both child and adult. Lily is a wonderful role model for girls.
I loved the plot too. I actually felt very moved by Lily’s story. It brought back memories of my grand father who was blinded and injured during the Battle of the Somme at the age of 19 and I found what happens to Ben gave me a surprising emotional jolt.
The artwork by Martin Impey is utterly, utterly divine. If it were not damaging to the book I’d be very tempted to cut it up and frame the pages for the wall. There’s so much detail that adds background to Hilary Robinson’s words and helps bring them to life. Peace Lily would be an inspiration to budding artists and there’s so much in the illustrations to find and to discuss that although the actual story is quite short, reading Peace Lily could provide hours of inspiration, discussion and exploration.
Peace Lily may well be a book for children, but I don’t think they should be allowed to keep it for themselves. It is truly a fantastic book that I feel privileged to own.
About Hilary Robinson
Hilary Robinson is an author, radio producer, broadcaster and feature writer. She was born in Devon and brought up in Nigeria and England. The author of over forty books for children she is best known for Mixed Up Fairy Tales. Her books have been translated into a number of languages and are sold across the world. She lives and works in London and Yorkshire.
About Martin Impey
Martin Impey has been a freelance illustrator over 20 years. Working on a huge variety of exciting projects from children’s books, toys and games, art licensing, magazine editorials, tv commercials, animation, packaging, greetings products, character development and much much more.