Saturday, April 24, 2010

Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon

ANZAC Day is the good time to add music to our literature sessions as we listen to the Last Post and sing songs at school assemblies. A book I love to read at this time of year is Christmas in the trenches. This important picture book is based on a song by John McCutcheon and his song in turn is based on real events of World War One when troops on both sides met in no mans land at Christmas to play a friendly soccer game and exchange simple gifts. These young men forgot about sides and enemies and for a moment their true humanity shone through.

Using the voice of Frances Tolliver, John McCutcheon gives an important insight into this event. You can also read about this time in a book by Michael Foreman called War game - we have this one in our library too.

I first heard John McCutcheon sing one of my favourite poems 'The Kindergarten Wall' on the radio. When I finally tracked down the album with this song “Water from another time” I was so excited to also find this moving song about World War I. A few years later I discovered the book illustrated by Henri Sorensen with a CD inside with the song.  I have also found a video to complete this package.

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