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Thursday, 21 March 2019

Review: Wallaby Jack

Best mates Jack and Carl sign-up for their biggest adventure – fighting in World War I.

This easy to read chapter book is a great way to learn about Anzac Day. Interspersed with colourful character illustrations and real-life black and white pictures, the reader will learn about the hardship and mateship of war.

Keeping the story simple and entertaining for the reader is the inclusion of Pip the wallaby, who Jack has raised since she was a joey. Pip tags along with Jack and Carl as a good luck charm. But Pip isn’t the only animal to accompany the new recruits, there is also a Kangaroo called Captain who goes on their adventures and creates mayhem.

All through the rigorous training the animals keep the new recruits laughing. Boarding a ship to Western Australia Jack and Carl learn they are about to join a convoy and leave Australia for the frontline. As excited as Jack is, he soon finds the boat crowded with troops, hot and stuffy, so he sneaks off to sleep in a rescue boat with Pip. Whenever Jack is, Pip is never far away, and he soon earns the nickname Wallaby Jack.

Arriving in Cairo, Egypt Jack and Carl along with their mates Johnno and Chip relax before they receive further orders. They explore Cairo and make friends with Habib, a cameleer who supplies camels for the War. Upon receiving their orders, excitement ripples through the camp, they now know they are to fight the Turks and land in what we now call Anzac Cove.

As young men, Jack and Carl are lucky to survive the landing, when so many of their friends do not. Their only option to protect themselves and their mates is to start digging a trench. The fighting goes on for months, with both Jack and Carl thinking if they have Pip, their lucky charm, they are safe. That is until the Turks steal her . . .

This book by Lisa Thompson is part of the Sparklers series that features stories based on Australian history. 

At the end of the story, there are Anzac facts including a timeline of events, a glossary and comprehension questions. The story will capture the reader, whilst you are learning about one of history’s greatest battles in World War One and explains the Anzac legend.

Title: Wallaby Jack
Author: Lisa Thompson
Illustrator: Nahum Ziersch
Publisher: Blake Education, $10.95
Publication Date: 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781760201111
For ages: 6 - 9
Type: Junior Fiction

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