Every year I purchase a few new Anzac books.
This year I found a home on my shelf for three more.
This Anzac Day morning, we read them, while waiting for our Anzac biscuits to bake.
First we read “Meet the ANZACS”.
It was simply written for young readers, yet detailed enough for older readers to perhaps learn something new.
As I read it to my boys, I had high hopes for the book.
It approached the topic differently to the other Anzac picture books we own.
It took us on a journey through the lead up to the landing on the beach at Gallipoli
But then it left us there
to imagine what the war was like.
Probably a good choice of book for sensitive readers.
But if you really want to ‘Meet the Anzacs’ then you’ll need a book that is actually about the war.
I was disappointed.
“The Poppy” was the next book we read.
Another disappointment I’m afraid.
The story focuses on the link between Australians and the French town of Villers-Bretonneux.
However the connection between these two places is too simply explained on only two pages (a mere five sentences).
I felt the book was too ‘artistic’ in nature and the story got lost. It wasn’t a pleasure to read aloud.
The bond is the central focus – “French and Australians, side by side” – and not the story that created the bond.
It’s as though the theme of the story is the ‘plot’, and it’s the storyline that you have to dig to find.
We actually preferred the background information page in the back of the book.
Our third book, “Gallipoli”, was the jewel in the crown.
One out of three.
This is a good children’s book.
It follows the journey of Bluey and Dusty, two Anzac soldiers, to Gallipoli and home again.
It teaches the story we don’t want the children to forget, and it connects us to the soldiers we must remember.
I loved that the book included all of the things we have come to connect to the Anzac story,
even the good humour of the Australians.
This is the only book out of the three that I liked and would recommend.
For Anzac Day, I expect children’s books to tell a story of war
and to draw the Anzacs into our hearts and minds, where they can continue to live on,
We will remember them.