image In Flanders Fields:
The story of the Poem by John McCrae.

Linda Granfield. Illustrated by Janet Wilson.
Toronto: Lester Publishing, 1995. 32pp, cloth, 16.95.
ISBN 1-895555-65-5.

Subject Headings:
McCrae, John, 1872-1918. In Flanders fields.
World War, 1914-1918-Literature and the war-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4 and up / Ages 9 and up.
Review by Lorraine Douglas.


Ypres, a fourteenth-century town encircled by a moat, had been the home of a beautiful medieval cathedral and Cloth Hall. By the time John McCrae arrived in Flanders, however, the town, called "Wipers" by the soldiers, was ruined and refugees streamed from it. Troops were camped not far from the Yser Canal, where they cooked meals, wrote letters to loved ones, and strengthened friendships that, in some instances, began back in their homeland.

John McCrae This beautiful tribute to one of the most popular poems ever written presents the story of its creator against the background of the First World War. John McCrae was an idealistic Canadian doctor who wrote the poem in 1915 shortly after his friend Lieutenant Alexis Helmer had died at Ypres. The text of the poem and accompanying paintings are interwoven through the book. The artist visited Flanders and has recreated the dark landscape of the war in oil paintings filled with expressive brushstrokes.


Linda Granfield includes numerous interesting details and reproductions from archival sources in her well-balanced and thoughtful text. Her writing is clear and easy to understand, but does not treat the subject simplistically. The controversy of McCrae's call to arms in the poem is discussed in the context of the times in which he wrote the poem. The continuing symbolism of the poppy in remembrance of war is explained. Endpaper maps bordered with scenes from the war show the geography of the major battles in France. This elegantly produced book is a valuable resource.

Highly recommended.

Lorraine Douglas is Youth Services Coordinator for the Winnipeg Public Library.

Copyright © 1995 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364

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