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IN FLANDERS FIELDS by Linda Granfield

IN FLANDERS FIELDS

The Story of the Poem by John McCrae

By Linda Granfield (Author) , Janet Wilson (Illustrator)

Age Range: 8 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-385-32228-3
Publisher: Doubleday

 The 16 lines John McCrae wrote following a friend's death in the Second Battle of Ypres in 1915 survived and flourished in the insanity of WW I, and in this work, continue to evince the same sturdy beauty as do the scarlet poppies blowing in Flanders fields. The poem, ``In Flanders Fields,'' has acquired so much emotional weight it could collapse any book focusing on it. Granfield (Cowboy, 1994, etc.) doesn't let that happen. Her strong, sensitive treatment, with Wilson's matching illustrations, catch the torch thrown ``from failing hands'' and wield it to illuminate the story of not only the poet-doctor, but also the war itself. Granfield deftly interweaves the lines of the poem with informative short essays on life in the trenches, accounts of McCrae's experiences in his field hospital, the burgeoning popularity of poppies as symbols of remembrance, and more. Wilson's paintings beautifully evoke place, time, and incident. The incorporation of black-and-white archival materials, such as postcards, posters, and photographs, adds yet another layer of interest, while maps on the endpapers provide further information. The book revivifies the poem, placing it so well on its feet in its world that it's difficult to think of the classroom in which the book would not be of use. That it is also a beautiful book only expands its appeal. (Picture book/nonfiction. 8+)