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Arahanga, Julian (text) Andrew Burdan (illus.): Born to Fly.

[dagger] [dagger] ARAHANGA, Julian (text) Andrew Burdan (illus.) Born to Fly Huia Pub, 2012 40pp NZ$25.00 pbk ISBN 9781775500049 SCIS 1558236

The powerful story of the bomber squadrons in WW2 is dramatically retold in this superb graphic novel. In particular, it is the true story of John Pohe, a young Maori lad born in Whanganui who had a great desire to be a pilot. Educated at Te Aute College, he returned to the family farm when he left school. The drawings here tell much of the landscape and period. Though romance is in the air, he responds to the call to arms and joins trainees at the Wigram Air Force base. He is a well-respected and capable fellow and soon finds himself flying a Lancaster bomber. He has many adventures as the 'lucky one,' but luck runs out and he finds himself shot down, captured and held in a prisoner-of-war camp. He there joins the men who are building a tunnel that later was known to be The Great Escape! Johnny is, unfortunately re-captured and bravely faced the firing squad. There are stories that need to be told 'lest we forget' and at the end of the book, there are photographs and artefacts that speak of the reality of war plus some relevant websites. The structure of the book is clearly historical and biographical rather than simply plot-driven narrative. There is high drama in the graphic images. Available in both Te Reo Maori and English, it will appeal to boys who are not necessarily into book culture. Recommended.

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Author:McKenzie, John
Publication:Reading Time
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2013
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