This interesting picture book biography portrays the everyday life of Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Britain, during WW II, alongside his beloved pet miniature poodle, Rufus. The large, full-color illustrations take up most of the page and bring this fascinating historic period to life and will prove especially engaging for young children. Interspersed throughout are actual quotes by the great orator and leader, some of which might prove to be a bit difficult for young minds to comprehend, but nothing that cannot be cleared up with a bit of help from an adult, i.e. teacher, parent, or caregiver.
This picture book also serves as a wonderful introduction to the period. Children will learn about the inner workings of government, for example how Mr. Churchill conducted business in an underground office deep beneath London. I had no idea that Rufus was a constant companion for Mr. Churchill, even accompanying him to the House of Commons! I thought the illustrator did a credible job of portraying life in London during this time. The panoramic depiction of London at night, lit only by what I assume to be bombardment, was rather eerie but conveyed the destructive effects of war quite well. As Churchill walks around devastated London the next morning, Rufus accompanies him, somberly taking in the ruins.
The book moves on through the war years until the ultimate Allied victory against the Axis powers. It aptly ends with Churchill and his beloved dog, Rufus, at rest in their country retreat with the caption, "They rest in the country at last, two war dogs." I think this book would make a great introduction or supplementary material for class discussion on WW II, and I think it lends itself more to upper elementary students (younger children might also appreciate it with some adult guidance). There's a timeline included at the back of the book, as well as some information on Churchill and his dogs, and there's also a bibliography and a list of additional reading suggestions.