The other Will and Kate

will and kate Review by Deb Bennett

Book | Will and Kate – The story of William and Catherine Booth | Dawn Volz, illustrations by Chris Green

Aimed at young children, this picture book tells the inspiring story of William and Catherine Booth, founders of The Salvation Army.

From their early life in 19th century England to leaders of a worldwide organisation, author Dawn Volz cleverly weaves a story of love, hope and compassion as compelling as any traditional bedtime story.

Adults, too, might be surprised to learn of the radical beginnings of the church affectionately known as the Salvos.

While contemporary society may consider the uniforms and traditional music a little old-fashioned, the Booths were considered radical in their day, with hundreds of their followers arrested for disturbing the peace.

Trombones and timbrels were particularly loud and designed to command an audience. If the Salvos were established today, perhaps their instrument of choice would be an electric guitar, the amp turned to 11.

The central message of the story is one of hope. The lesson for children that, no matter how humble your life, you can make a difference in the world. Working in a pawn shop, a young William Booth saw evidence of poverty and injustice, and set out to help those society had shunned.

This is also a love story. Ms Volz writes of the young William and Catherine’s devotion to one another. Throughout their three-year engagement, they wrote long love letters to each other every day. This love endured throughout their family life.

With eight children, Catherine was busy raising her family while William travelled, but she was far from a traditional wife. As. Ms Volz writes “She thought it was nonsense that men were bosses of everything. Kate knew God made men and women equal.” Catherine amazed her church when she decided one Sunday to stand up and preach, becoming one of the world’s first women preachers.

With illustrations by Chris Green, this book is easy-to- read for primary aged children, and fun-to-read for parents. The drawings and words combine successfully to impart a lot of information with a positive message.

Most children’s authors state that writing for children is deceptively difficult. Ms Volz agrees, telling Crosslight: “Never has so much effort been put into 1200 words.” The effort has certainly paid off.

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