Peggy Larkin's War

ABOUT Trevor Forest

Trevor Forest
Children's writer from Nottingham UK Books include Magic Molly, Abigail Pink's Angel and Peggy Larkin's War



London 1939 and the city’s children must be evacuated to the countryside to keep them safe from the German bombs. After a tearful goodbye at the station, Peggy Larkin is sent to live with strangers in the country, unsure if she’ll ever see her parents again.

Peggy meets the ultra strict Mrs Henderson and does her best to fit into country life. But what secret lies behind the locked door in the big house? Who is the man hiding out in the woods? Peggy finds a friend in Alfie, another London evacuee and together they try to solve the mystery.

1939 and the people of London are preparing for the expected blitz. The government decrees that children should be taken from the cities and sent to live in the countryside. This process was known as The Evacuation. This story tells of the upheaval and heartache of one of those children as she is taken away from her family and sent to live with complete strangers not knowing if she will ever see her parents again.

It's often a sign of quality in a children's book that it has equal appeal for adults. And, in the case of `Peggy Larkin's War', this is certainly true.

Set at the beginning of World War Two, it tells the story of Peggy Larkin, a young girl who is evacuated from London to the countryside. There's the mystery of a locked room in the house that Peggy lodges in and of the reason behind the sadness of Mrs Henderson, the house's owner. There's also the sinister presence of a stranger in the woods. The story follows Peggy as she endures separation from her parents and makes a brave attempt to settle into her new life. Along the way she makes a new friend and demonstrates remarkable stoicism and resilience.

Forest's writing is excellent and is pitched perfectly for its intended readership of upper primary school age children. He doesn't patronise and he writes with an immediacy and economy that will appeal to children. Forest never intrudes into the story, and it never feels like he's trying to educate or preach. This is child-friendly, accessible entertainment. It's all about the story.

The only disappointing aspect for me was the book's brevity. Having set up such great characters and a setting with so many possibilities, it would have been good to have further chapters and more adventures for Peggy.

It would also be great to see this book in paperback. At the moment it's only available for Kindle and at least as far as my own pupils are concerned primary school children don't tend to own e-book readers. It's got a cracking good cover for one thing. But more importantly than that, it would be a good book to have in school libraries and in World War Two project boxes.

But in the mean time parents, grandparents and teachers it would be well worth purchasing Peggy's story for your Kindle's and reading this aloud to the children in your lives.