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

Monday, 11 August 2014

Review: Along the Road to Gundagai

We’ve been inundated with WWI tales in this, the one-hundredth anniversary of the WWI’s onslaught. However, there are some absolute treasures among the year’s publications and The Road to Gundagai is one of them. The copyright to Jack O’Hagan’s lyrics for this classic song is dated 1922, yet the emotional message within has lost none of its punch.

Andrew McLean’s paintings take us from carefree living in country Australia to the devastation of poison gas fields and battle injuries. While no graphic violence is depicted, the emotional and physical traumas suffered are clear, as is the heartbreak and worry felt by families back home. Every day was another time of hoping that their men were still alive, another day praying they would not receive a dreaded letter announcing that their boys were dead or missing in action.

The pages seemed to be finished too quickly, the tale had only just begun, and yet, at the close of The Road to Gundagai I felt I had experienced a little of the hope, fear and anguish of that terrible time one hundred years ago.

The Road to Gundagai is a perfect introduction to the concept of war and its aftermath for younger children.

Title: Along the Road to Gundagai
Author: Jack O’Hagan
Illustrator: Andrew McLean
Publisher: Omnibus for Scholastic, $24.99 RRP
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9781862919792
For ages: 5 +
Type: Picture Book

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