Our Christmas period has been filled with books, and the three below were all gifts to my little boy (we bought A Beach at Gallipoli for later years).  He and my baby girl, and my husband and I all received many more books than that, so we were very blessed.  I bought Keith Richard’s gorgeous Gus and Me for Perry, and The Book of Feelings for them both – I have previously reviewed these books, you can check out the reviews here and here respectively.

A Forest by Marc Martin


In a very pertinent parable for our times, we begin with a lush, pristine forest.  Then along come people, first in small numbers, and those people live with and of the forest, using the forest sustainably in a tribal/village way.

Then, as ever, along comes greed, and industry (the industrial revolution has a lot to answer for) and logging, along with all of the ills inherent with that trio.

A city grows and grows, and as it does, it diminishes the forest, and without the trees, the air is choked with pollution.  Wondrous washes of watercoloured toxic greens begin to cloud and immerse the gorgeously drawn citiscapes.

A storm brews and it washes the city away, until all that remains is one tree, and from there grows….a forest.

The Beach they called Gallipoli by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley


There really are a lot of children’s books out there about the First World War and the Second World War, it is quite a niche. I have reviewed Once A Shepherd on the blog and mentioned that it made me weep.

The Beach at Gallipoli, by well known children’s book author Jackie French and illustrator Bruce Whatley, obviously a centenary commemoration book, is a different creature.  There has already been a lot of discussion and essay devoted to whether the events at Gallipoli really did shape our nation, or whether that is merely jingoisism.  I have been transcribing my great grandmother’s letters received from WWI and I have my own thoughts on that war and the men and their journeys, but more on that another time. Whatever your thoughts on the matter, and whether you feel that you want to expose your children, the topic will be big in schools and the media this year and this book is a good point of reference, holding a steady middle ground between realism and reverance.  It tells the story of the whole campaign, and stresses that the allies invaded and that the Turks were defending their country.  It is illustrated by montages of photos, maps and drawings which are quite beautiful, so that while there are actually some photos of corpses lying on beaches at more than one point, this is ameliorated somewhat by the accompanying images.  At times the text, which is otherwise carefully poetic, describes awful scenes more graphically than the photos.

I like the way that this narrative gives an abbreviated but thorough lesson on events as they happened, whilst describing the awful personal price paid by the soldiers, and the ultimate waste of life and time the whole campaign was.    In short, The Beach at Gallipoli gives reason to children for the refrain ‘We Will Remember Them.’

Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker & Tom Lichtenheld


The big, loud, industrious inhabitants of the construction site are busy all day building, digging and clearing.  The noisy, tough trucks and diggers work and play hard all day, but when the velvety blue night descends, they yawn and bathe and snuggle down to sleep, safe in the assurance of love and play in the morning.

“Turn off your engines, stop your trucks,

Relax your wheels, your stacks and backs,

No more huffing and puffing; team:

It’s time to rest your heads and dream.”

And so goes the sweet lullaby of the construction site.

Linking up with #FYBF over at With Some Grace