Review Blog

Apr 23 2012

Do not forget Australia by Sally Murphy and Sonia Kretshmar

cover image

Walker Books Australia, 2012. ISBN 978 1 921529 86 3.
(Ages: 6+) Warmly recommended. Picture book. World War One. In France Henri missed Australia as one of the continents in the class quiz, prompting him to comment, 'who cares about Australia', but as this book shows the people of the village in which he lived still remember Australia today because of the efforts of the Australian 13th, 14th and 115th brigades which took the place back from the German army in 1918. The place, Villers-Bretonneux, still commemorates the efforts of the Australians who fought and died there, as well as the efforts of countless Victorian school children, who after the war, collected money to rebuild their school.
Told through the tale of young Henri, displaced from his home and village by the German advance, and Billy in Melbourne, waiting for a letter from his father on the Western Front, the two lives intersect as Henri and his mother take food to the Australians camped outside their town, and Billy's father writes to his family about the townsfolk who have treated them so well.
Today the school in Villers-Bretonneux still boldly flies an Australian flag, with the motto, 'Do not forget Australia' in each classroom, and services held every Anzac Day.
This is a different story to add to the growing number of picture books about Australia's efforts during the two world wars, and will be well used by teachers and librarians to augment the interest shown in our deployment overseas.
A page of information at the end of the book will intrigue readers and impel them into further research and involvement in the new Australian curriculum with its emphasis on History.
Fran Knight

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