The ANZAC Day Parade by Glenda Kane

Published: March 29th 2010Goodreads badge
 Puffin Books NZ
Illustrator: Lisa Allen
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

On Anzac Day an old man, a former member of the 18th Battalion, and a young boy meet – the young boy wide-eyed and wanting to hear the glories of war and death – the old man quietly sad to remember the reality of what was faced.

“Age won’t weary him, he said, but boy, it’s wearied me”

This is a solemn story that has heart but also packs a punch with importance. The ANZAC Day parade brings out the young and old, to honour those who fought in the war, those who came home, and those who did not.

The perspective is of a young boy who has attended the parade, whose eye catches an elderly man, a straggler after the ceremony. He asks for him to tell of the glory of the war, what it was like to fight. The answer the man gives is not one filled with glory, but it is one filled with truth and heartache.

The innocence of a child is a naïve but ignorant voice against the veteran. This was a story I was not expecting; it shoots down the idolisation of war and what those who have never been expect. I was surprised that there is not much of a narrative, but each page has beautiful words about the pain and suffering, but eloquently expressed.

The education of the boy is the perfect framework for this story, but it isn’t the focus either. As the veteran gets lost in his memories so do we as a reader looking at illustrations of the age, the youth, and the memories.

There is no violence shown, there are beautiful drawings by Allen as she captures the gravity of Kane’s words. I liked the solemnity that the boy depicts, a contrast from the spark before, not to diminish him, but to show that the conversation with the veteran has had an impact. Understanding of the day.

There is as much emotion in the illustrations as there is in Kane’s simple words. I found myself impacted by Kane’s words, as well as Allen’s illustrations. Knowing what ANZAC Day means to Australians and New Zealand and the marches that grow yet diminish each year. The beautiful drawings accompany the powerful words and you can see the tone Allen is conveying. The realistic depictions of the man and boy, as well as the surrounding areas puts you there with them. At the memorial, in front of the list of names. It is a reminder of being at these parades and the meaning they hold.

There is information about a WWII battle in Crete at the back which reminds readers it isn’t just WWI that ANZAC honours. It is every war, every war and battle Australians and New Zealanders fought in. As depressing as it can be to read these stories, I enjoy that there are still so many beautiful ways we can tell the stories of these brave men and women of history. How they are not just names on a wall, not just people who march. They have had a huge impact on our world and to honour them, even in a picture book, is simply wonderful.

You can purchase ANZAC Day Parade via the following

QBD | Booktopia

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