Pidge's poppies by Jan Andrews and Timothy Ide

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Pidge’s Poppies is a delightful picture book based on a true story of two pigeons who built their nest with poppies placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, Australia. This is an engaging story with detailed and striking illustrations that provides a glimpse into the role pigeons played during two World Wars. As well, this story offers an introduction to the Australian War Memorial and Remembrance Day for young readers.

Pidge and Henry were best friends who would happily fly around playing I Spy. One day Pidge spotted the Australian War Memorial and they went for a closer look. Pidge remembered stories from her father about her great-great relations who had been sent to war as carrier pigeons. They were responsible for carrying messages in little tubes strapped to their legs and over time saved many soldiers’ lives. Some pigeons were awarded the Dickin Medal for ‘Conspicuous gallantry or devotion to duty while serving in military conflict.’

Pidge and Henry decide to build their nest at the War Memorial and became quite famous. Their presence provided the opportunity for guides to talk about the role pigeons played in the war and opened up conversations about animals in war.  February 24 is now recognised as Purple Poppy Day where animals that have served during wartime are honoured and remembered. Resources include Pigeons in war, and Pigeon steals War Memorial poppies to carefully craft its nest | 7NEWS.

Themes: Pigeons, Wars, Australian War Memorial, History, Nests, Remembrance Day.

Kathryn Beilby