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JacksBugle_cov LR
  • Author

    Krista Bell
  • Illustrator

    Belinda Elliott
  • Publisher

    Windy Hollow Books
  • Distributor



When Aidan Jackson, known as “Jack”, leaves his parents’ farm in country Australia to fight overseas in World War One, he is excited by the promise of travel, adventure and new friends. “Jack” and his mate Spencer Harrington, “Harry”, are among the first ANZACs to land at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.

Set against the background of the Gallipoli Campaign, JACK’S BUGLE, follows the journey of a bugle from Australia to Egypt to Gallipoli and back to Australia. It is a picture story book with a gentler way into discussion of the War with younger readers.

This is Belinda Elliott’s first picture book and her exquisite illustrations are done in watercolour.




  • Kids' Book Reviews
    Reviewed by Anouska Jones

    It's World War I and Aidan Jackson (known as Jack) leaves his parents' farm to become a soldier and fight overseas. With him, goes his shiny brass bugle, his most precious possession.

    After enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force, Jack is sent to a camp with the other new recruits for training. There, he meets Spencer Harrington (known as Harry), and the two become best mates. Soon they ship out together to Egypt for more training, this time in the desert. And four short months later, on 25 April 1915, they find themselves about to land at Gallipoli.

    As ANZAC Day approaches, this book is a timely reminder of the reality of war and what our soldiers faced. Krista Bell's text tells the story simply but vividly. She writes of a 'narrow beach littered with bodies' and tells of the 'Confusion. Noise, bullets, sand, rocks, smoke, death.' We feel Harry's heartbreak when he finds Jack's bugle … but no sign of Jack.

    But Krista Bell also offers optimism, reminding us of the ultimate peace these men were fighting for, and the future they ensured for the generations to come. Many years later, Jack's bugle is found by another Jack, Jack Pettigrew, in an op shop. Like the first Jack, this Jack has a natural talent for the instrument, reminding his mother of the story of his great-uncle, a bugler who went to war and died at Gallipoli — a man named Aidan Jackson.

    While this is a picture book for older readers, both in terms of language and subject matter, it's an excellent entry into learning more about World War I and Gallipoli in particular. Belinda Elliott's watercolour illustrations are the ideal gentle accompaniment.
  • Good Reads
    Reviewed by Hazel Edwards OAM

    Writing effectively about war requires skill and sub-text. Author Krista Bell has skilfully linked the ANZAC story by personalising it across the generations via Jack's bugle. There are two Jacks: the present day boy who values the bugle found in the op shop, and the young World War 1 soldier and country boy Aidan Jackson, known as 'Jack' who lost his life on the battlefield, but his bugle was saved by his mate.

    The khaki-water colour illustrations by first time illustrator Belinda Elliot are delicate and with sufficient historic detail to promote discussion.

    This picture book will appeal across generations. It reads well aloud and can be used in the growing thematic interest in Gallipoli history and the impact of 1914-18 WW1

    But the book has a longer life because it explores mateship and music too. The ideas are choreographed and the vocabulary apt in the emphasis upon sounds of the battlefield and the music.

    Highly recommended especially for adults to share with younger family.
  • Buzz Words
    Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

    Innocent about the meaning of war and looking for adventure along with so many others, Aidan Jackson, known as Jack, sets out for Gallipoli with his bugle. He becomes best mate to Harry, who later brings Jack’s bugle home.

    This book is a salute to the men at Anzac Cove. It’s a hymn to the mateship and camaraderie shared in the sands of Egypt, and the trenches. And amidst the bullet fire, it’s always mates looking after mates with loyalty and sacrifice.

    Ever present in the story is the bugle; Jack’s Bugle, that brought something singular to the men at Gallipoli and which remained along with a bent photo, the only reminder for Harry of his friend.

    Krista Bell has again used a single object - the bugle - to create an interesting reflection on the war that was to end all wars. The story of the bugle is in itself a whole separate tale, uncovered at the end. These books are treasures and serve to remind us Lest We Forget.

    Outstanding watercolour illustrations by Belinda Elliott take the reader back to the time and place perfectly with her perceptive translation of the text.
    A moving story of the 1914-1918 war and especially the landing at Gallipoli by Australian troops.

    Central to events is the friendship forged between Aidan Jackson, known as Jack, and Spencer Harrington, Harry. Despite Jack being a farm boy and Harry a city bloke, they became best friends throughout early training, shipping out and desert training in sandy Egypt.

    And everywhere Jack went, so did his precious bugle, playing both on and off the field but kept safely by his side until Gallipoli changed everything.

    Later events remind us of the trauma war brought to many, especially survivors, and of untold stories and mementoes whose origins became lost. But also how some op shops can hold treasures from the past with unknown links to following generations – a moving finale for the interested reader.

    Despite the picture book format and soft, almost gentle illustations, the text is both moving and fairly extensive, making it a book to read to a young audience but also for independent readers of 9 plus years.


If you would like Krista to visit your school, to give talks or do some workshops, please contact her via email for pricing and availability.

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