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

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Review: Pandemic

At the end of World War I there were huge celebrations as families reunited. But the returning soldiers brought another surprise home with them; the Spanish Flu. Just like war, this disease changed the world when it evolved into a pandemic.

History is repeating itself, with the modern world currently experiencing a pandemic. Beautifully crafted, this picture book by renowned Australian author Jackie French and Australian illustrator Bruce Whatley takes us on a journey through hardship, loss and generosity of spirit.

Based on a story by Jackie French’s grandmother, the essence of kindness, generosity and quarantine prevailed – lessons we are currently learning.

As people grew sick and weak, stores and schools closed, houses drew curtains to signal the household was in quarantine and face masks became the new necessity.

The story highlights the need for community and how families not affected helped others out. Whether it be by milking cows, farming the land, picking vegetables or delivering food and other essentials. All parallels that the world is currently navigating through.

One strong message that emerges from the story is that the pandemic did end, like so many other diseases such as polio and measles. As advances in medicine develop there will be an end to the pandemic.

Ironically illustrator Bruce Whatley was in quarantine while creating these stark, tonal pictures which signify the time and the mood of the period the Spanish Flu was prevalent.

This book is a must read for explaining to young children about our history but also as a way to understand the world at the moment. Through this powerful story, it teaches us humanity can prevail during these challenging times.

Title: Pandemic
Author: Jackie French
Illustrator: Bruce Whatley
Publisher: Scholastic Australia, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 November 2020
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781760976088
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book