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

Friday 9 April 2021

Review: The Flying Angel

Tull Suwannakit is quickly becoming one of Australia’s best illustrators of children’s books. In his latest, The Flying Angel by the talented Vicki Bennett, stylish illustrations support the emotive text. Detailed and in neutral colours, the artwork is almost photographic in its precision.

With Anzac Day approaching, many beautiful books will be circulating. This is one of them.

Inspired by the life of one courageous nurse, Sister Marie Eileen Craig, this stunning picture book reflects on the role sacrifice, bravery and courage play, and how they are transferred from soldier to nurse and vice-versa. 

Marie's call to nursing was evident when as a child, she practiced on her dolls. She idolised her father who had returned from the Great War. When she grew up, his life in active service was her example.

When another war broke out, Marie, at twenty-five, became part of the Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service. The nurses rescuing the wounded at the front line in Papua New Guinea, became known as the Flying Angels.

Told in a first person narrative with Marie’s voice,views of the bombing, aid, comfort and compassion exhibited through war zones and aeroplanes full of wounded by Marie, are delicately and realistically depicted.

The dangers and threats from bombs do not deter Marie from her calling at any stage.

I loved the design of this book. On some pages, the text is the focal point, at times starring against a wisp of background colour. Others have full page images or double spreads as the main attraction which the text accommodates by hugging the bottom of the page. 

Amongst other books by Vicki Bennett are The Little Stowaway and Oliver's First Big Spy Adventure.

Tull Suwannakit is a Fine Arts Graduate from RMIT who uses different techniques in his art work. He teaches children art, creative drawing, picture book illustration and sculpture at his Malvern School of Art.

Title: The Flying Angel
Author: Vicki Bennett
Illustrator: Tull Suwannakit
Publisher: Scholastic, $ 24.99
Publication Date: 2 March 2021
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781743835517
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book