Imprint: Black Dog Books
Release Date: April 1, 2019
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99
As thousands of Australians and New Zealanders pay homage to those who have given to our countries in service, often with the ultimate sacrifice, this is not only a timely release for this time of year but for all time. If we as educators are to help our students to comprehend the devastation of war and to embrace a more peaceful way forward, there is no better way than to provide them with a glimpse of a child’s experience during such circumstances.
Children in the First World War were encouraged to send welcome Christmas packages to those serving in the war zones, as indeed they still are today. For one little boy, the filling of his father’s Christmas billy is an important mission and he along with his mother and grandmother make sure that every item packed lovingly into the vessel is chosen with real care. But there are hundreds, indeed, thousands of such billies packed and sent. How will this particular one reach his Daddy? Well, perhaps it won’t – but it will reach a digger who will appreciate the true love that it contains and it this significant aspect that is arguably the most telling. Yes, this little boy misses his father and prays he is safe but if he can make one soldier’s Christmas brighter, it is the same he hopes for his own Dad.
We live in perilous times and our daily news is filled with horrendous acts of hate and violence. If we are to have any hope for a peaceful future we must – MUST – guide our children towards compassion and love for all.
The text is simple but powerful and the illustrations completely capture the sense of the period in history, particularly the colour palette echoes the pervading feel of both the times and the critical situation that was The Great War.
This is my choice for our Friday story telling session tomorrow in the library – with accompanying ANZAC biscuits of course.
Thank you to the creators for giving us another wonderful entrée for our young readers into an important understanding and potential for personal growth.
Highly recommended for sharing from Prep upwards.