Told by the mascot of the No.75 Squadron of the Royal New Zealand Airforce, Henry B. Fanshaw (the B stands for Bear), this beautifully illustrated non-fiction picture book is full of stories of the heroics and bravery of New Zealanders fighting in the second world war. With a combination of non-fiction text and graphic illustrations, the pages unpick the emotions of the soldiers as they cope with the demands of their tasks. The realism and muted colours of the illustrations are sensitive and respectful to the topic.
The tales of missions are frightening and the story of the outstanding bravery of Jimmy Ward, a school teacher from Whanganui, is the most memorable of all. The book continues on to explore missions completed after the war, including food drops to the Netherlands and letters of apologies to the city of Hague.
The last pages are dedicated to additional information about the planes, missions and people related to the story. The end papers are muted scenes from a plane window sealing the true feel of quality that this hardback book has.
Title: My Name is Henry Fanshaw: the true story of New Zealand’s bomber squadron
Publisher: Bateman Books
Publication: 15 March 2021
Reviewer: Kirsten Puddick, Librarian, Holy Cross School, Miramar, Wellington
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
Opening sentence: My name is Henry Fanshaw, or, more correctly, Flight Lieutenant Henry B. Fanshaw.
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