Well-illustrated, well-presented books are a rarity in independent publishing. All too often the easiest
way to tell a privately-published work from a professionally-produced one is the quality of a cover. In the case of Where
Peace Lives, the only reason you would suspect the volume was not turned out by a major publisher is that they probably
would not have taken the time and effort to produce such a lavishly-illustrated and expensive children’s book
Don’t misunderstand me when I refer to the cover price of $19.95. This book is well worth the money.
However, in this day and age, the publisher’s motto seems to be "pile them high and sell them cheap", which works fine
when you are marketing a work by a celebrity like the Duchess of York or a well-established writer of best-sellers like J
K Rowling. Sadly, when the author is not already famous, it is an uphill struggle to market a children’s book of this
quality and price.
Now let me turn to the most important aspect of any book – the content. The narrator of Where Peace
Lives has dreamed of a land where, literally, peace lives. It comes as a surprise when a large brown bear called Luther
arrives on the scene to seek help in freeing the Peace Angel. Naturally, the journey is both perilous and informative, ending
not only in success for the mission, but greater experience and understanding for the narrator.
If this sounds too much like a cautionary tale for your liking, then this book probably isn’t for you,
but it will appeal to many young children even if their parents are cynical. Although it deals with difficult subjects, it
is not frightening or disturbing. It is not likely that a child will come away with a deep understanding of religious toleration
and the politics of war, but it is, I feel, a story that could inspire young readers to think about some of these issues.
The down-to-earth and sometimes jokey style make it an easy read.
The additional pages devoted to acknowledgements, charitable advertising and space for notes were, I felt,
an indulgence, which adds to the production costs without adding anything to the book as a product. This criticism aside,
I would not hesitate to recommend it, particularly as a present for a niece, nephew, godchild or friend’s child. Why
not for one of your own? Well, children have an instinct for when their parents are trying to push them down a particular
path, and they tend to rebel. I wouldn’t want any child to miss out on the opportunity to open this lovely book.