Monday 18 November 2013

Gallipoli Medals

Gallipoli Medals by Goldie Alexander, illustrated by Mignon Watson (ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee)
PB RRP $10.95
ISBN 9780980448054
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

This wonderful book is a valuable resource for young readers with its unique approach to the legend of ANZAC. The story is told through two points of view: the diary entries of eleven year old Jaxson today and those of Private Jack Donaghue during 1915.

Jaxson is surprised to learn that an ANZAC Commemorative Medallion belonging to his great great uncle, Private Jack Donaghue has been found in an Op Shop. The purchaser, Major Peter Romsey, is trying to track down the relatives of the owner. This sparks an examination of Jack Donaghue’s life. More so, when Jaxson’s school project uncovers more questions and answers about the Great War.

Another thread through the book is the close relationship between Jaxson and his Turkish mate Abi. After learning about Great Great Uncle Jack, dynamics change between Jaxson and Abi. Jaxson has mixed feelings about the reasons for the War and how enemies can become friends. Abi can’t understand why things are different.

The friends struggle with this dilemma. We share their fears, the questioning and reasoning, and view their painful journey through doubt to the exultant resolution.

This superbly illustrated book of historical fiction (with a map of the ANZAC area at the end) is presented in a fine prose style. While made up of a compact 28 pages, it holds extensive information and important themes and is ideal for readers of all ages.

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