Anzac Animals by Maria Gill, illustrated by Marco Ivančić (Scholastic New Zealand)
The winning author/illustrator duo that claimed the supreme children’s book award in 2016 – the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year prize – has again teamed up with publisher Scholastic New Zealand and designer Luke Kelly to produce a follow-up to the award-winning Anzac Heroes. This time they’ve written and illustrated a book about the animals that went to war.
Well-known children’s author Maria Gill and talented illustrator Marco Ivančić have proven they can do it again. Publishing Manager Lynette Evans says that Scholastic New Zealand couldn’t be happier with the response to the book from those who have already seen it. “Maria and Marco are a talented and unstoppable match. Maria’s meticulously researched text combines perfectly with the energy in Marco’s highly realistic illustrations to bring history to life in full colour and absorbing detail. We are privileged to partner with them in creating these timeless and information-loaded books for children.”
Anzac Animals includes the heartwarming stories of the mascots and working animals that helped the Anzacs during World War I and World War II. “There’s a mixture of the sad, funny, and awe-inspiring stories about the animals that went to war,” says Gill. “The tales show how much the animals meant to the Anzacs, and the lengths they would go to save their charges. I picked a wide range of animals, from kangaroos, cats, monkeys, a tortoise and a chicken, to dogs, horses, mules, donkeys, camels and pigeons. Some were found in the battle zones, others purchased from locals, and quite a few brought from home. They all made a difference to the men’s lives and helped them endure the war.” Girls and boys will enjoy reading the captivating stories, as well as poring over the stunning illustrations, photographs and graphics.
With 2018 being the final 100-year commemorations for World War I, the book is a compassionate note to end the anniversary. Gill is touring with Storylines to Christchurch schools from 12-16 March, with Duffy Books to Rotorua schools from 19-23 March, and giving workshops to local schools at the National Army Museum and then onto Napier Schools in the final week of March, including a book launch at Wardini’s Bookshop in Napier at 4pm on Wednesday 28 March.