Thursday, April 03, 2014

Best Mates - three lads who went to war together

Among a number of excellent books with ANZAC Day themes being published for children this month is this one from a talented NZ duo. This book is a wee gem and I must admit It brought a tear to my eye.

The three young soldiers in this moving tale about war and mateship are best friends 
from school, and they leave New Zealand together to go and fight at Gallipoli. Landing 
first in Egypt, they travel by ship to Anzac Cove and dig into trenches to fight the Turkish
 troops holding the peninsula. Conditions are tough and Joe gets sick, but his mates help 
him onto a hospital ship. Then Harry is fatally wounded and his burial has to take place on
 the cliff-top, away from the snipers. The three friends are reunited many years later, when
 the two surviving men fly to Gallipoli and lay poppies on Harry’s grave.

Taking inspiration from her bestselling children’s non-fiction title Anzac Day, the New Zealand Story, Philippa Werry captures the essence of the Anzac spirit with this poignant story. An illustrated factual text spread at the back of the book provides extra information about the 
events pictured in the story.

About the author & illustrator

Philippa Werry is a children’s writer and author of Anzac Day, the New Zealand Story: 
What it is and why it matters, also published by New Holland. She has written extensively for
the School Journal and Connected, and her book Enemy at the Gate about the polio epidemic in the 1930s was shortlisted for the NZ Post Book Awards (2009). This is her first picture 
book. Philippa lives in Wellington and participates in the Book Council Writers in 
Schools programme. Both her grandfathers fought in WWI (one at Gallipoli and the other 
on the Western Front) and her great, great-aunt was in the first group of nurses to leave 
for the First World War.

Bob Kerr is a painter and award-winning illustrator, known for his depiction of Terry and
the Gunrunners in the 1970s series written by Stephen Ballantyne.  His book After the War
was a finalist in the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards and winner of the LIANZA Russell 
Clark Award for illustration in 2001. Bob lives in Wellington and works from a studio in the 
Berry & Co building on Cuba Street, where young soldiers were photographed before they 

New Holland - Paperback - $19.99

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