'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 25 April 2013

Review: An ANZAC Tale

When war is declared on 5 August 1914 and Australia pledges its support to Great Britain, mates Roy Martin and Wally Cardwell are among the first to enlist. What Roy and Wally and their new friend Tom first thought would be an adventure soon turns to disaster. The day after the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, more than 2000 of their fellow Anzacs are dead.

The experiences of the soldiers at Anzac Cove are shared through the eyes of Roy, Wally and Tom in a graphic novel format. Animal characters fill the roles of soldiers, officers, enemies and family at home, introducing younger readers to this pivotal event in Australian history.

An Anzac Tale is filled with the everyday details of the Gallipoli campaign, from the boisterous high spirits of the men heading off to war anticipating an overseas adventure, to the reality of life on the battlefield and the heartbreak of families receiving news of lost loved-ones. It isn’t simply a tale of woe, however, as readers get a very strong sense of the camaraderie and loyalty the soldiers felt towards each other and the tenacity and ingenuity of the Anzacs when faced with such hardship.

The details within the story are complemented by additional notes at the end of the book. Referenced to the relevant pages, there is extra information on topics such as the landing at Anzac Cove, the nurses at Gallipoli, the Battle of Lone Pine and the 9-hour May Armistice. There is information on equipment, food supplies and a brief Timeline from the Germany’s invasion of Belgium on 3 August 1914 through to the last night of Anzac evacuation on 19th December 1915.

An Anzac Tale offers primary school-aged readers a very accessible account of the Gallipoli campaign. In a classroom setting, it offers a range of discussion points from the physical challenges of the battlefield to the expectations of the soldiers and their families. The format will particularly help to engage the interest of reluctant readers overwhelmed by the large amounts of text usually found in historical accounts.

Despite the animal characters, An Anzac Tale offers a very human account of the hardships experienced by the ANZAC soldiers and the friendship and tenacity that helped them to endure.

Title: An ANZAC Tale
Author: Ruth Starke
Illustrator: Greg Holfeld
Publisher: Working Title Press, $29.95 RRP
Publication Date: March 2013
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781921504532
For ages: 8+
Type: Graphic novel,Older junior fiction