Gallipoli by Kerry Greenwood and Annie White

cover image

Gallipoli by Kerry Greenwood and Annie White
Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743621295.
(Age 5+) Highly recommended. Gallipoli. World War 1. Bravery. Friendship. Dusty and Bluey were mates, off to the Great War as part of the Australian Light Horse. They were sent to Egypt to train as soldiers and then deployed to Gallipoli, where they met Simpson and his donkey Duffy, sustained injuries and attempted to be resilient and positive under awful conditions.
Greenwood's prose brings this story alive, letting the reader learn about Dusty and Bluey's feelings of excitement as they left for an unknown war and gradually their fears about the horrors of war, each promising to watch each other's back. She is able to bring in the heroism of Simpson and his donkey and the awful times when the soldiers are injured, the nurses who looked after them on the island of Lemnos and the unexpected bond between the Turkish soldiers and the Australians as they buried their dead and exchanged gifts. The reality of war is not glossed over: the fact that soldiers are killed, the trenches are muddy and freezing and the food inadequate are all made clear. However it is the caring friendship between the two men that shines out as they bravely do their duty as soldiers, and after the war Bluey is shown managing a normal life after losing his leg.
Illustrator Annie White's pictures are coloured in soft pastels and really add a deeper understanding to the text, but which are not too overwhelming for young readers to look at. The emotions on the faces of the soldiers are wonderful, and the interspersing of drawings within a photo frame add detail to the whole.
This is a book that will greatly aid children in understanding the nature of war and the bravery of the young men who were sent to Gallipoli.
Pat Pledger