Release date: March 2018 in Australia and New Zealand.
Anzac Animals has brought to life the astonishing and heart-warming TRUE TALES of 20 UNFORGETTABLE ANIMAL FRIENDS that helped ANZACs serving in World War One and Two.
What do kangaroos jumping around Egyptian camps, monkeys swinging from masts, dogs ducking for cover, and camels chewing their cud amidst the sound of gunfire have in common? THEY WENT TO WAR.
Read the fascinating true tales of the mascots and working animals that helped Anzac soldiers, sailors, pilots and medics do their jobs in wartime.
You'll meet some well-known animals, such as Murphy the donkey, who carried the wounded in Gallipoli, and Caesar the Red Cross Dog. But also included are the hard-working horses, camels and mules, and the dogs that barked a warning when enemy planes were approaching, as well as the mischievous monkeys that had the men laughing.
Anzac Animals has been extensively researched by author Maria Gill and beautifully illustrated by Marco Ivancic - the winning team (including the wonderful team at Scholastic and Luke Kelly the designer) of the 2016 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year, Anzac Heroes.
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Anzac Heroes, winner of the 2016 Supreme Book of the Year Award,
had been very successful, it made sense to write a book on the
animals that went to war, next. I first started reading the
delightful picture books that had been written about war animals
such as 'Torty and the Soldier', 'Caesar the Anzac Dog' and junior
non-fiction titles 'Brave Bess and the ANZAC horses', as well as
Anthony Hill's books. For most of the animals, though, I had to
research museum files, and write letters to people as far away as
Dublin, America as well as Australia to hear their grandfathers'
stories of the animals they had befriended during the war.
Thankfully, Creative New Zealand gave me a grant that enabled me
to travel to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and
Wellington's Alexander Turnbull Library. This enabled me to finish
off all the loose ends, to cross check the facts, and find extra
details that would enhance the stories.
On my mind the whole time, was Publishing Manager Lynnette Evans' words, 'Don't make the stories too sad.' I tried to pick a range of funny, heart-warming and yes, there are some sad stories.
The stories are not written to glorify war, they're written to show the bravery and loyalty of the animals - their stories deserve to be told as well!
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