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9780887769511_cover Enlarge Cover
5 of 5
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list price: $20.99
edition:Hardcover
published: Sep 2009
ISBN:9780887769511
publisher: Tundra

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion

by Jane Barclay, illustrated by Renné Benoit

reviews: 2
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military & wars, multigenerational
5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $20.99
edition:Hardcover
published: Sep 2009
ISBN:9780887769511
publisher: Tundra
Description

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.

About the Authors

Jane Barclay

Author profile page >

Renné Benoit has illustrated many award-winning books, including The Secret of the Village Fool, Lily and the Paper Man, and When-I-was-a-little-girl. Renné works in her home studio in St. Thomas, Ontario.
Author profile page >
Contributor Notes

Award-winning author Jane Barclay is a tea-drinking, dog-walking, house-cleaning, lawn-cutting, short-order cook and writer. Besides writing books for children, she also does freelance work and her articles have appeared in both The Gazette and The National Post. Jane lives with her husband in Pointe Claire, Quebec. Their three sons occasionally drop in to pat the dog and visit the fridge.

Renné Benoit was born and raised in Nepean, Ontario, and she is the illustrator of numerous award-winning picture books, including the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Award-nominated Goodbye to Griffith Street by Marilynn Reynolds and Tale of a Great White Fish by Maggie De Vries, both recipients of the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize. Her book Lily and the Paper Man, written by Rebecca Upjohn was a Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award winner. Benoit lives in Southern Ontario with her husband, their daughter, and two dogs.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
4 to 6
Grade:
p to 1
Awards
  • Short-listed, Blue Spruce Award
Editorial Review

Praise for Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion:
“A wonderful picture book, intergenerational, [with] great illustrations. Jane Barclay’s text captures a small boy’s love of his grandfather and interest in his past in a few, well-placed words. It encourages us to see the stories that are all around us and within us and it quietly honors the brave men and women who have fought and still fight for our freedom.... Powerful themes of war and peace well handled.”
—Carolyne Van Der Meer, juror for the 2009 QWF Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature
 
“…meaningful and engaging…. Barclay has taken on an important topic in an effective and touching way. Her poignant story introduces the young to the meaning of war and Remembrance Day…. There is a lovely rhythm to the prose that would make this a perfect choice by parents and teachers to read-aloud. Highly Recommended.”
CM Magazine
 
“…[a] beautifully modulated picture book about war and remembrance….”
The Globe and Mail

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Reader Reviews

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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion

In Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion a young boy observes his grandfather prepare for a Remembrance Day service. As he looks through an album containing old photographs of his poppa in the war, the grandson asks questions: “Poppa, why did you lie about your age?” “Poppa, weren’t you lonely?” “Poppa, weren’t you scared?” Poppa replies that he was as proud as a peacock in his soldier’s uniform, as busy as a beaver on the ship en route to Europe, and as brave as a lion during battle. The mood turns increasingly sombre at the ceremony. The boy is moved when he witnesses the veterans in the parade and his grandfather laying a wreath in honour of his best friend. When he asks the old man why he is crying, the response is, “I am remembering. A war is something you never forget.”

Author Jane Barclay has written a touching story told from a child’s perspective. This intuitive boy realizes that there is much more to his grandfather than meets the eye. Barclay creates telling snapshots with her beautiful phrases. Readers can palpably feel the sorrow at the rain-washed ceremony. This lad is profoundly stirred by what he witnesses, and one knows that he will regard his grandfather with deeper understanding and respect.

Renné Benoit’s watercolour and gouache artwork perfectly expresses the solemnity of the occasion. The old, grey army photographs, juxtaposed with the multi-coloured present day scenes, effectively portray how the boy is trying to reconcile the young soldier in the photographs with his elderly grandfather. The hues grow steadily muted as the story progresses to reflect the the sadness in people’s hearts.

This perceptive book will resonate with children wondering about war and remembrance. It may answer some of their questions, and may also encourage them to ask more.

Through the eyes of a child, the journey begins!

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2010. Vol.33 No.1.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Proud as a Peacock, Brave as a Lion

In response to the questions his grandson asks, a granddad 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 as he charged into battle. Soon the old man’s room is filled with an imaginary menagerie as the child thinks about the different aspects of war.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.

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