A tender, moving story of a child waiting at home for the return of his father from serving in WWI.

During World War I, Australian and New Zealand soldiers on the front were sent Christmas care packages in a tin billy. The Anzac Billy is the heartwarming story of a little boy packing a billy with all his father’s favourite things – added to by mum and grandma – even though he realises there is no way that the billy can actually go to a particular soldier.


Claire Saxby was born in Melbourne and grew up in Newcastle. She’s lived in more houses than she can remember, and attended many schools. Claire is the author of many books including There Was an Old Sailor, illustrated by Cassandra Allen, which won the Crystal Kite Member Choice Award, Australia and New Zealand Division, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, 2011.

Mark Jackson is an illustrator based in Melbourne. He has co-illustrated several books with his wife, Heather Potter, and their work has been featured in several exhibitions. Mark has several titles published by Walker Books Australia: The Truth About Penguins written by Meg McKinlay, 2010; Not Like Georgie written by Scott Hatcher, 2009; and Stuck! written by Charlotte Calder, 2009, which was short-listed in the Young Children Category of the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards 2010, and received a Notable mention in the Picture Book Category, Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards, 2010. Platypus, published in 2015 and a part of the award-winning Nature Storybook series, was a Notable Book at the CBCA Book of the Year Awards in 2016 and was also short-listed for the Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children's Literature in the same year.


There is a tender voice in Saxby’s text, an appealing boy at its centre, and an authentic setting.

CBCA: Reading Time Blog

Highly recommended. The home images are fabulous, showing a world more than one hundred years ago, a vastly different wold from the one our readers inhabit, and classes will have a great deal to discuss, looking at the pictures and working out what everything is for, contrasting the clothes that they wear, the things put into the tin, a world away from the things our readers give and receive for Christmas.Another chapter of the story of Australia’s involvement in World War One has been revealed for younger readers enabling them to see how far war reaches, and the attempts by many to send comfort to those fighting on a foreign field.


Read aloud in the classroom or at home, this would make a poignant and heart-warming story to commemorate Anzac Day and an excellent reference book for life in the early 20th century.


This is a divine publication full of movement and nostalgia, beautifully reflecting the daily lives and thoughts of people during the War years.

Kids' Book Review

This wonderful new picture book from successful writer Claire Saxby is a gem. This book will introduce young readers to a little-known aspect of World War I, and a simple way that our troops were supported.

Trevor Cairney Blog

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