Monday, 15 December 2014

Anzac Ted

Anzac Ted written and illustrated by Belinda Landsberry (EK Books)
HB RRP $19.99
ISBN 978-1-921966-56-9
Reviewed by Peta Biggin

Anzac Ted may look scary but if only everyone looked a little deeper they would see an unsung hero.  He is a teddy bear that went to war with the Anzacs and through courage, loyalty and love helped bring our soldiers home. 

Anzac Ted is a poignant and touching book.  Written in rhyme, it is the story of a child’s teddy bear that has clearly seen the worst of times.  Dirty and torn, Anzac Ted frightens other children and is seemingly only loved by his owner.  But Ted’s story is a heroic one – taken to the First World War as a mascot and surviving to come home.  It was his wartime experiences that left him scarred and damaged.
 
Visually striking, the book starts and ends with large, colourful illustrations with a transition to sepia colouring during the telling of Anzac Ted’s experiences in the war.  Interestingly, these illustrations were based, with permission, on real-life shots taken by war photographer, Ernest Brooks and the portrait of the Unknown Soldier.

I found it a little sad as despite all that Anzac Ted endured, his heroism is widely unacknowledged by the children around him.  An important message, I think, for us to remember and be thankful for the sacrifice of our past and present soldiers. 
Overall, Anzac Ted is a beautiful and important book; especially as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War 1 and in particular the Gallipoli campaign.  While clearly a children’s story, this is a book that is suitable for all ages; with the effect dependant on the reader’s understanding of and connection to wartime of any era.

Belinda Landsberry is a children’s author and illustrator.  She has trained as a primary school teacher, graphic designer, copywriter/art director and nurse.  She lives on the North Shore (Sydney) with her family and four kids.  Anzac Ted is her first picture book.  She can be found online at: http://belindalandsberry.com/

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