Highlighting the role of women in the First World War, Peace Lily tells the story of a young girl who decides to become a nurse and tend the wounded at the frontline when her childhood friends are conscripted. With a gentle storytelling style we discover how Lily realises a badly wounded soldier is her own friend Ben. With her care he recovers enough to return home after peace is declared on November 11th 1918. The story ends happily with Lily marrying Ben and the family album on the end papers show a happy future together. Despite the happy ending, this book does not glorify war however; Ben loses a limb in the conflict and we see other wounded comrades.
This is the fourth and final book in a series of picturebooks by the same team which provide a sensitive introduction through individual stories to aspects of the First World War for children. Peace Lily is published in the centenary year of the Armistice and is written in rhyme acknowledging the contribution of the war poets.
The gentle watercolour illustrations are lovely, evoking different moods, from the sad sepia of the battle scenes to the joyous brightly coloured wedding. There is lots of extra detail to discover in the illustrations too, such as what happens to Ben and Ray when they join up. Perfectly timed for publication on International Women’s Day on March 8th Peace Lily is a great conclusion to a wonderful series of picturebooks.