Tom Palmer’s latest children’s book deftly explores the complexity of war through the eyes of a boy who is battling his own confused emotions on the subject.
Jack is a dog-loving 11-year-old, about to embark on a school visit to D-Day Normandy. What should be a treat takes on new resonance when his dad, a reserve soldier, gets an overseas posting. When Jack learns about the sacrifices made by a military dog, his feelings about what he will find in France start to change.
Everything about this story feels sharply real, from the description of the D-Day beaches and cemeteries that Jack visits, to the dynamics of his parents’ relationship, and particularly his love for own loyal pet, Finn.
As well as raising questions, it is packed with information – some of it surprising (before reading I had no idea about the role parachute dogs played at D-Day) – and the factual section at the end makes the story’s powerful conclusion even more poignant.
D-Day Dog (from Edinburgh publisher Barrington Stoke) is a sensitive and original story that packs emotional punch, without passing judgment about events or people. If you’re looking for a book that gets its readers to really reflect about conflict, this is it.
D-Day Dog, by Tom Palmer (Barrington Stoke)
– Because we received a review copy of this book, we have made a donation of £6.99 to Mary’s Meals, so a hungry child will receive a meal a day in school for six months. Read here to find out how this works.