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TAIL-END CHARLIE by Mick Manning


by Mick Manning and Brita Granström & illustrated by Mick Manning & Brita Granström

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: July 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-84507-651-1
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Relating his father’s anecdotes as he heard them, Manning presents an episodic account of the experiences of an RAF tail-gunner in World War II, from basic training (“Square-Bashing”) to bombing runs—the last of which ended with a shrapnel strike and a serious head wound. In scrapbook-style visuals, the author/illustrators present text typed on period official forms, along with photos, ads and other ephemera foregrounding cartoon scenes of Charlie and his crew at briefings and social occasions while on the ground, and in the air flying a bomber through heavy flak and smoke. “Nowadays World War Two is a history lesson,” Manning writes, “but for my dad, and millions of others, it was real life.” The mix of homey details and matter-of-fact but not cold reportage of deaths and dangers will bring the era to life for young readers, too. The glossary, nearly as long as the main text, supplies definitions and commentary on slang, aircraft, historical highlights and special terms. (Informational picture book. 8-10)