Reviewed by Carmela Ramos.
Tony Palmer has taken the essence of a past reality to create a story worth telling, The Soldier’s Gift. This wonderfully written book acknowledges the Australian soldiers at Gallipoli and their families during the First World War. The book cover, detailed Endpapers, and realistic illustrations all capture this moment of time.
Jane Tanner successfully communicates depth of emotion in all the characters. Her illustrations, together with Palmer’s child-friendly language, leads the reader on an emotional journey of a girl named Emily whose brother, Tom, leaves home to join the war. Tom promises to write letters to her, and it is in these letters that Emily discovers something precious which needs to be nurtured. The gift from her brother brings an array of emotions for Emily and her loved ones at a difficult time. This gift captures the memories of a loved soldier who was also a brother, a son and a nephew.
The Soldier’s Gift is a Picture Book for 8+ readers but can easily be appreciated by all ages. It is a great resource for teachers to have as the content of The Soldier’s Gift can be linked to the Australian Curriculum : History. In particular, the book can be used to allow students to explore how some aspects of Australian family life has changed over time and how other aspects have remained the same. The book can also encourage students to see how the past is significant to their own lives today. There are a number of themes and feelings which can be explored, some of which include; love of family, moving away, loss, and bravery. The Soldier’s Gift also includes four non-fiction pages that provide additional information about Australia’s involvement with the war. These pages are detailed with photographs taken during WW1. The Soldier’s Gift helps the reader connect to the past and is a beautifully presented story.
We received a copy of this book from Penguin Australia in exchange for an honest review. For more information please visit The Soldier's Gift at Penguin Australia website
RELEASE DATE: 23rd July 2014
Back Cover Blurb
Emily knows her big brother, Tom, wants to leave Hillside Farm and go overseas to the war, but Emily doesn’t want him to go.
‘Everyone else is going,’ said Tom to Emily when their uncle was gone.
‘That’s not a good reason,’ said Emily.
The Soldier’s Gift is a moving story of one family’s courage and endurance during the First World War, the terrible losses at Gallipoli and a time that changed Australia forever.
Tony Palmer (AUTHOR)
After graduating from Monash University in 1985 with an honours degree in Graphic Communication Tony Palmer has worked full-time as a book designer for various publishers. He has also been a part-time typography teacher at Victoria University and is currently undertaking a Masters in Art and Design at Monash University focusing on the aesthetics of typesetting in Mandarin. As a long-time enthusiast of Australian History Tony wrote his first novel for teenagers, Break of Day which was published in 2007. Following this he wrote The Valley of Blood and Gold, published in 2011.
Jane Tanner (AUTHOR/ ILLUSTRATOR)
She is the acclaimed illustrator of the best-selling picture books There's a Sea in my Bedroom, Drac and the Gremlin, The Wolf, The Fisherman and the Theefyspray and Lucy's Cat and the Rainbow Birds. She is the author and illustrator of Playmates, Isabella's Secret, Ride with Me, Just Jack, Love from Grandma and Lilly and the Fairy House. She has won or been shortlisted for many prestigious awards, including the CBCA Book of the Year Awards in the categories of Picture Book of the Year, Younger Readers' and Early Childhood. This much-loved author/illustrator is one of Australia's outstanding picture-book creators.