ANZAC is the name given to the Australian and New Zealand troops who landed at Gallipoli in World War I. ANZAC is now a symbol of bravery and mateship. this is the story of how the ANZAC legend began.
With 2014 marking the centenary of the First World War, and with ANZAC Day just a couple of months away, the release of Meet the ANZACs is timely. Part of the Meet… series, this offering varies from earlier titles in the series in that it focusses on a group rather than on a single individual. This works wonderfully, with author Saxby developing a sense of who the men were who together created the legend. In a relatively few words we learn of the motivations of those who joined up, their dreams and expectations, the training and difficulties they endure, and their feelings they await their first deployment on Gallipoli.
Illustrations, by Max Berry, complement the story, with changes in perspective and focus capturing the range of scenes from bush and city in Australia, to the deserts of Cairo and the landing at Gallipoli. In keeping with the story the illustrations depict a range of men, giving some sense of the range of different backgrounds and ages of the soldiers.
As with all books in this series, back of book timeline provides a more comprehensive overview, in this case of the passage of the First World War.
Meet the ANZACs provides a wonderful introduction to the soldiers who forged the ANZAC legend and, as such, is perfect for classroom use but equally appropriate for home reading.
Meet the ANZACs, by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Max Berry
Random House, 2014
Available from good bookstores and online.
Disclaimer: The reviewer has also contributed to the ‘Meet’ series, having authored an earlier title in the series. The review was written with every attempt to consider this title independently.