Peace on Earth is a beautifully illustrated, lyrical picture book which conveys a message of hope and reconciliation. It’s a wonderful book to help young children understand and acknowledge the differing emotions evoked as part of friendship and can also help them find ways to resolve their own conflicts.
The Story: Two friends, a girl and a boy, and their dog embark on a journey. It starts out full of joy and optimism as they make new friends and greet others with wishes of peace on earth. But as dark clouds appear and it starts to rain harsh words are spoken. Through the children’s fiery argument it’s hard to fix what is broken but a candle and a new friend help them regain a sense of peace and equilibrium and rebuild their friendship.
The journey through mountains and past sparkling oceans is joyful and it is not only the children who make friends, their dog also makes friends with another dog (neither dogs are mentioned in the text). Splashing in the waves, swimming and diving all feature in the children’s journey and although we don’t know what causes their argument it’s obvious from the subtle changes in colour and the children’s expressions and body language that hurtful words have been said. Their new friend’s attempt to mediate is shown through the use of a candle and the natural world also joins in with their reconciliation – dolphins surround their boat and the waves sparkle as they sail towards a beach to share their joy and message of peace with others.
We love the way that so much emotion is shown through the use of colour in David Litchfield’s beautiful illustrations. Vibrant greens, blues and yellows are replaced by dark, rainy skies and reds and oranges which symbolise the conflict between the characters. But once peace is regained light breaks through the darkness and we love the post reconciliation spread which is full of colour and the most amazing yellow and pink sky.
Peace on Earth can be used in a classroom to stimulate conversation about friendships, arguments and how to resolve them. With global conflicts and wars dominating the news the book can also be used to discuss ways of promoting peace on earth.
Age Range: 3+
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