Saturday, March 17, 2018

Anzac stories to treasure

The Anzac Violin: Alexander Aitken's Story by Jennifer Beck and Robyn Belton (Scholastic)

Jennifer Beck and Robyn Belton have done it again. They - along with the team at Scholastic - have produced a beautiful book about an unknown Anzac tale. We've had animals, women, soldiers, but we've never had a violin story before!

On board a ship bound for Egypt Alexander Aitken is gifted a violin; an unwanted present from a shipboard raffle. Alexander entertains the soldiers on the ship, in the Egyptian training camp, and then lugs it up the hilly terrain in Gallipoli. Whenever he goes into battle men volunteer to look after his violin for him - his music had become legendary and that was how the men felt they could pay him back. When the soldiers are evacuated from Gallipoli he has to leave it behind. However, an officer comes to the rescue and offers to take it with his gear. In France, he entrusts his violin to the nursing sisters in a hospice. But when he goes off to fight he has a feeling he might not return. Find out if he is ever reunited with his violin ...

Jennifer knows how to weave a moving story with research seamlessly. The book is a joy to read. Extras include the images on the endpapers: photographs, maps, posters, illustrations, pages from Alexander's journal - children will love poring over these images. There's also more notes on the real story and references.

Robyn Belton's stunning pictures illustrate this heartwarming tale of a soldier and his violin and the joy he brings to the rest of the army. The star-studded pictures are so breathtakingly beautiful you wish you could hang them on your wall. Robyn has drawn the illustrations in pencil, ink and watercolour.

The book has been designed by the very talented design team - Vida and Luke Kelly. I'm a huge fan of their work.

Highly recommended for Primary and Intermediate schools and home libraries.

ISBN: 9781775433910
RRP HB $29.99

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