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Reviewed by Bruce Arrington for Readers' Favorite
The Soldier Who Was Afraid by J.R. Poulter and D.O. Poulter is a children’s illustrated fable about a soldier, a princess and a king. The soldier has a terrible secret that no one knows about, except himself. The secret is soon revealed after he is promoted, and it causes the soldier to be banished.
Everyone is afraid of something, even if we don’t admit it to ourselves. But this soldier knew what he was afraid of, and ran from it. The consequences prove almost disastrous, but the story ends on a positive note while teaching a lesson. This story is well written, imaginative and enchanting. It helps the reader experience the failures of someone else, but in the safety of their own home. I appreciate how the words didn’t “preach” at the reader, but simply allowed the story to unfold. The artwork was dark and well crafted, setting the mood for the fearful consequences that followed; it was detailed so one could imagine living there. Yet it was light-hearted as well, capturing the fantasy element and fitting the characters squarely inside.
In facing our fears, we may learn that they never go away completely. But it does not matter, as this story illustrates. If we can keep going and not give up, eventually the reward will be there. This lesson is clearly given, though subtly stated. It’s an adventure that children will want to relive again and again. The Soldier Who Was Afraid by J.R. Poulter and D.O. Poulter is a highly recommended read.