Review: Digger

A toy kangaroo, two little girls and an Australian soldier bring to life the heroic battle for Villers-Bretonneux, on the Western Front, in this heart-wrenching picture book.

When her big brother, James, goes to war, Annie stitches the name Digger to her toy kangaroo and gives it to James as a parting gift.

Digger and James travel across the sea to the trenches of the Western Front, in the infamous World War I battle of Villers-Bretonneux. Digger provides comfort for James, even accompanying him into battle.


When James is injured, he is sent to convalesce on a local farm where he meets Colette, a young girl who reminds him of his sister, Annie.

After returning to the frontline, the death of James sees Digger returned to Colette. The young girl carefully cleans and repairs Digger and sends him home to Annie, along with a promise to always visit James’s grave with flowers.

This moving deed brings comfort to Annie as she realises that someone cares for her brother, and Digger, as much as she does.

The powerful text is beautifully complemented by poignant illustrations in loose lines and soft watercolour.

Inspired by a photograph of French schoolchildren tending the graves of Australian soldiers, this soulful story will give primary-aged children a gentle insight into the casualties of war.
Title: Digger
Author: Mike Dumbleton
Illustrator: Robin Cowcher
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $24.99
Publication Date: March 2018
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781760296735
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book

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