Thursday, February 27, 2014

Present from the past by Jennifer Beck illustrated by Lindy Fisher

I was showing my school art teacher the beautiful collage illustrations in Stefania's dancing slippers and she asked the obvious question which had not occurred to me!  Did we have other books illustrated by Lindy Fisher?  The answer is yes - Present from the past.

The timing for finding this book is perfect as we are preparing to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I.  I will add this book to my growing pile of excellent picture books we will share with students over April.

Emily is excited to meet her Aunt Mary who is coming to visit from England.  Aunt Mary has never visited the family before.  On Christmas day she gives Emily a battered tin and then she shares the story of how little tins like this were given as gifts from Princess Mary during World War I.  This actual box was a gift to Mary's mother and it contained chocolate but it also saved her life when a stray bullet hit the box and not the young nurse tending a wounded soldier.  At first Emily is disappointed with this gift but as the story unfolds she recognizes this little object is a very special family heirloom and something to treasure and pass on.

Here is a detailed review with further links.

Present from the past relates the story of these little tins that were presented to soldiers and sailors in 1914.

The idea was the initiative of Princess Mary, the 17-year-old daughter of King George V and Queen Mary. Princess Mary organised a public appeal which raised the funds to ensure that 'every Sailor afloat and every Soldier at the front' received a Christmas present.   Due to the strong public support for the gift, which saw £162,591 12s 5d raised, the eligibility for the gift was widened to include every person 'wearing the King's uniform on Christmas Day 1914', about 2,620,019 servicemen and women. 

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