Local Books – Book Review
When Our Jack Went To War
A Rare, 5 Star Review
Sandy Mckay’s gorgeous ‘When Our Jack Went To War’ is a story that deals with small life events set against world-changing wars. The book is told as letters between Tom, a young boy in Dunedin, and Jack, his older brother – because in 1916, as The Great War begins, Jack volunteers for the army.
In turns funny and sad, the book is a great read for any kid (or adult) who wants to know more about WW1. Longacre, the publisher, has formatted it beautifully: the story contains excerpts from papers, reproduced in their original typesetting, and the letters between the two boys are set out like photographs of real letters. This breaks the text into manageable chunks, making it particularly useful for school reads.
McKay is a tutor in English Literacy, and the syntax of this book is noticeably accessible. I don’t know if she did this on purpose, but When Our Jack Went To War is written in a way that allows less able readers to be drawn into the story. It’s a great choice especially for boys who want to read a chapter book, but don’t feel like sitting down for too long!
The photo is taken of When Our Jack Went To War against the Dunedin cenotaph. The flowers are Armistice Day wreaths.
Jack, by the way, was a real person.