Friday 15 March 2013

Taff in the WAAF

Taff in the WAAF by Mick Manning & Brita Granstrom (Walker Books)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 9781847804150
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Taff in the WAAF was the winner of the 2011 English 4-11 Award, KS2 Non-Fiction. The writer and illustrator have an impressive folio of published award-winning work and this is the companion book to Tail-End Charlie, shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards.

The story is dedicated to Taff and her friends. The information is accessed through the memorabilia of WAAF Section Officer Paddy Fraser, and archives. It is presented in scrapbook form which has become a very popular method of presenting non-fiction to children of all ages. The visual part is comprised of photos, newspaper clippings, Official documents, certificates, menus, and wonderful framed illustrations with captions.

There are also reproduced sheets of paper of the era, that have explanations about  Morse Code,  Message Forms from the ‘Y’ Service, which was a ’chain of top-secret listening stations that intercepted coded enemy signals’ that were then immediately forwarded to Bletchley Park to be decoded by code-breakers. There is information on the loneliness the women experienced, the entertainment that kept them from desperation, and how they more than capably filled the men’s roles within any area they were needed.

This is a wonderfully detailed, brilliantly produced, and a valuable resource for children on the role of women and girls during WW2.  It has an expansive Glossary for a fuller understanding of terms, abbreviations and specific words used through the book. The text is similar to that produced by an old typewriter which is a perfect touch. It winds up with a double spread of original, single and group photos of WAAFs.

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