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A BEAR IN WAR by Stephanie Innes


by Stephanie Innes & Harry Endrulat ; illustrated by Brian Deines

Pub Date: April 10th, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-55470-097-4
Publisher: KPk/Key Porter Books

In 1916, ten-year-old Aileen Rogers sent her father, a medic in the trenches of Belgium, her own small teddy bear as a Christmas gift. Lt. Rogers put the bear in his uniform pocket—where it was discovered after his death at the battle of Passchendaele. Fellow soldiers shipped Teddy home along with Rogers’s medals, uniforms and letters; they now make up a permanent exhibit in the Canadian War Museum (co-author Innes is Aileen Rogers’s granddaughter). Told simply and effectively from Teddy’s point of view, the narration focuses on the Rogers family’s life before the war and the loneliness they felt when separated from each other. The design interposes Deines’s soft-edged illustrations with actual artifacts belonging to the Rogers family (photographs, report cards, Circumstances of Death Report). He brings both a sense of intimacy (Aileen’s hands putting Teddy in a box) and universality (an iconic soldier vanishing in a field of poppies) to the text. A lovely book, of special interest to Canadians. (epilogue) (Picture book. 5-10)