I Was Only 19/And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

‘I Was Only Nineteen’ by John Schumann and ‘And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ by Eric Bogle are two very famous Australian War songs. These two amazing songs have been turned into illustrated children’s books in recent times.

Being that it is ANZAC Day, I thought it would be appropriate for this particular double review.

I Was Only Nineteen by John Schumann, illustrated by Craig Smith: This beautiful book, illustrates the deeply moving lyrics of John Schumann’s powerful song about the Vietnam War. A haunting subject that needs to be remembered, has been expertly illustrated to do just that. Craig Smith’s illustrations capture the heartbreaking story being told by John’s words. This book is perfect for parents to use as an introduction to the subject of war for their children. This book truly affected me. The lyrics and illustrations are perfectly complimented and left me with the need to read this book multiple times. An amazing book that all Australian’s need to read.

And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda by Eric Bogle, illustrated by Bruce Whatley: This book is an illustration of Eric Bogle’s iconic song about Gallipoli. Bruce Whatley’s heartbreaking illustrations expertly bring to life Eric Bogle’s haunting lyrics about the futility of war. The horror, heartbreak and despair that Eric Bogle’s lyrics demonstrate are perfectly captured by Bruce Whatley’s deeply emotive illustrations. The extremely moving book is a must have for all Australian’s.

In the case of both of these books, the iconic songs and heartbreaking illustrations are perfectly matched to create an extremely emotional reading and learning experience. I was overwhelmed by the emotion captured by combining these songs to illustrations. I honestly believe these books should be a staple in Australian primary schools, especially around ANZAC Day.

‘I Was Only Nineteen and ‘And The Band Played On’ are stories that need to be persevered for future generations.

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