Review Blog

Apr 08 2013

The promise by Derek Guille

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Ill. by Kaff-Eine. One Tree Hill, 2013. ISBN 978 0 9873139 6 6.
(Age: 8+) Picture book. World War One. Remembrance. When Derek Guille accompanied the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on a recent tour to France, as journalist, I cannot imagine that he would have dreamt of the emotional pull that trip would have on him and the others who made up the small band, the Melbourne Villers Bretonneux Brass Ensemble. Formed with the aim of playing several pieces of music at the town where the leader's grandfather had fought against the Germans, the band spent a day away from Paris at the town, meeting local residents and children. Here they were struck with the town that bears the names Melbourne and Victoria streets and the school, Victoria School, proudly flies the Australian and French flags.
A little know story of WW1, Villers Bretoonneux always remembers the heroism of the Australian troops in defending their town, to such a degree that when bushfires ravaged Victoria, they fundraised money to send back to Victoria, just as the Victorians did after WW1, in helping rebuild the town where many of their sons had died.
This is a fascinating tale of the day spent at the town by the brass ensemble, and beautifully dovetails the picture book published last year, Do No Forget Australia, (Sally Murphy, Walker)
Fran Knight

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