One minute’s silence – book review

One minute's silence

Very happy to have a long weekend for ANZAC day – half the sport commitments and an extra day with my family – love it! Mr 6 has been talking about ANZAC day – the war, the fighting, the dying, the remembering. I read him One minute’s silence, written by David Metzenthen and illustrated by Michael Camilleri. (Miss 9 and Mr 12 read it, too – one of those books that grows with the reader each year. The illustrations are contemporary and sophisticated, the language is emotive so appropriate for a wide range of kids.)

This one is particularly moving because:

  • every sentence begins with something like – In one minute’s silence you can imagine …
  • the use of evocative Australian images – wild colonial boys … a dairy farmer’s dawn … blokes from the big smoke … bare-knuckled bushmen
  • the Turkish viewpoint – the strangers wading through the shallows, intent on streaming into the homeland of the Turkish people … what the Turkish fighters felt when they knew they could hold the high ground
  • the crosshatch illustrations – black and white, maybe a touch of sepia
  • how the illustrations tell a story on top of the words – the book begins with a picture of some older kids in a classroom setting. The same kids are present in every illustrations, part of the war action – they mirror the horror and shock that we, as readers, feel.
  • the inclusion of the truce day, where the Australians and the Turkish met without weapons, sharing cigarettes and shovels as they buried their dead in the cool Turkish earth
  • the simple, yet evocative language – In one minute’s silence, you can imagine the great crop of crosses the Anzacs left behind … and the promises given to never forget the boys who would not wake to the hushed footsteps or the whispered farewells.

Lest we forget.

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