‘I love my grandad. We have lots of fun together.’ Every year Grandad marches in the ANZAC Day Parade and wears his medals, walking proudly beside his old comrades. but this year Grandad’s best mate is too sick to walk and the number of old soldiers still marching is getting smaller.’
The story is about a young boy and his grandfather. With each page the young narrator tells us about the fun things he does with his grandfather and the good times they have together.
The illustrations by Potter are lovely. They are like paintings, very realistic and show off the scenes the words are describing. Potter does a great job of bringing the grandfather and the boy to life on the page. You can easily imagine these silent figures partaking in the events described.
The story isn’t just about ANZAC Day; it brings the occasion into the real life experiences of the young boy and how it relates to his grandfather. His experience of the ANZAC March is touching, he reflects on the ages of the veterans and in the simple words of a young child he is matter of fact and explains things how they have been explained to him.
Duncan uses real words and phrases like cenotaph and the RSA Hall to put the ceremony and march into context without explaining it or simplifying it. Seeing the day’s events from the eyes of an outsider is interesting. He doesn’t understand why things are happening that much but he knows it is important.
This is set in New Zealand but there are a lot of things relatable to an Australian as well. It is also a great book to show that there are other countries that fought in wars, and the NZ in ANZAC does have meaning.
There is a wonderful little page of explanation at the end that explains more about ANZAC Day and the traditions. This is where the events are explained and terms and icons are given more meaning so it doesn’t take away from the story.
Grandad’s Medals is currently unavailable to buy from my online searches, but try your local library for a copy.