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Proud as a peacock, brave as a lion
2009
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Summary
Much has been written about war and remembrance, but very little of it has been for young children. As questions come from a young grandchild, his grandpa talks about how, as a very young man, he was as proud as a peacock in uniform, busy as a beaver on his Atlantic crossing, and brave as a lion charging into battle. Soon, the old man's room is filled with an imaginary menagerie as the child thinks about different aspects of wartime. But as he pins medals on his grandpa's blazer and receives his own red poppy in return, the mood becomes more somber.

Outside, the crowd gathered for the veterans' parade grows as quiet as a mouse, while men and women -- old and young -- march past in the rain. A trumpet plays and Grandpa lays a wreath in memory of his lost friend. Just then, the child imagines an elephant in the mist. "Elephants never forget," he whispers to his grandpa. "Then let's be elephants," says the old man, as he wipes water from his eyes and takes his grandson's hand.

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion has relevance to a growing number of families, as new waves of soldiers leave home.
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Booklist Review
A small boy has fun with his grandfather as they page through an old photo album, and Poppa tells how, at 17, he lied about his age so that he could join the army. Small photos in sepia shades evoke the past in images of the young soldier leaving his sweetheart and sailing across the ocean to battle, where he earns a medal and loses his best friend. Opposite the wartime photos, large, bright, unframed pictures in watercolor and gouache show the boy and Poppa in the present, talking about the soldier's feelings proud as a peacock, pretending to be as brave as a lion and the lively animal images in the words are also part of the pictures. In the story's climax and on the book's cover, the child marches with Poppa in Canada's Remembrance Day parade and imagines the animals there, too. In an author's note, Barclay reveals that her son returned safely from his tour of duty in Afghanistan, and she dedicates the book to peace. The blend of grim reality, heroic battle, and playful fantasy will speak to kids.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2009 Booklist
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