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Tail-End Charlie Hardcover – April 28, 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–5—The remembrances of Manning's father, a British Air Force gunner during World War II, are vividly presented through comic strips, watercolor-and-ink illustrations, and memorabilia such as ration books, postcards, and photographs. Log book entries provide Charlie Manning's personal reflections on training operations ("…when the bomber left the ground your stomach fell into your sheepskin boots!"), being under fire ("Sitting in my Plexiglas turret, I felt like a goldfish in a bowl, stalked by a black cat"), and narrowly surviving a mission ("Chunks of shrapnel punched through the aircraft.... Filthy smoke rushed in and then something hit me in the face. It was like being kicked by an elephant!"). A glossary offers brief notes on some of the military terms, places, and events mentioned. Reluctant readers will be drawn to the graphic format and quickly engaged by the authentic voice.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


For real-life adventures, there is Mick Manning's Tail-End Charlie. Brilliantly illustrated by Brita Granström, it tells the true story of the author's father as a youthful airman during the Second World War. Using comic strip, contemporary photographs and full-page pictures, it covers both everyday details and moments of extreme danger. --The Independent

Accessible to even the most reluctant reader. We live through Charlie's home life, recruitment, training and battle experiences including the Battle of the Bulge. It all paints a vivid picture, you almost feel you are experiencing it. --Primary Times

This account of one RAF man's war fits perfectly with imaginative illustrations, many of which are a collage of real war memorabilia. The glossary is a mini history in itself. A most attractive book which informs through both the story and the pictures. -- Carousel

An easy, interesting read that's helped by the visual presentation of the information. Children can get lost in the book, hardly realising how much they are reading - and learning. -- Junior Education Plus

The book is presented in the style of a scrapbook journal. The typed wartime 'flight log' gives us a personal voice and provides a narrative drive which makes the story compelling and coherent...The illustrations with their speech bubbles play a huge part in the success of the book. The combination of a strong line and often vibrant colors brings the experiences vividly to life. There is immense variety in how each double spread is designed. Interesting contemporary ephemera, including magazines, comics and playing cards, bring information and variety. Manning and Granstrom's books nearly always have school relevance and this one would enrich enormously primary school children's studies of the Second World War. The combination of a riveting personal story, much general information about the war and a detailed glossary make this an excellent resource. and reading it could lead to young readers exploring their own family histories for stories that should never be for! gotten. -- Books for Keeps

When Manning was a boy, his father would tell tales of his days as a tail-gunner in the Royal Air Force during World War II. The author and illustrator of Viking Longship (2007) and What Mr. Darwin Saw (2009), this husband-and-wife team offers a highly illustrated account of Manning's father's wartime experiences, based on remembered stories, interviews, and research. Beginning with ration coupons and Civil Defence activities, the story heats up when Charlie Manning joins the RAF and becomes a tailgunner, flying combat missions until badly wounded. The picture book is an unusual format for tales of combat, but Manning and Granström use it very effectively here, illustrating the story in large drawings with watercolor washes as well as captioned cartoon-style panels and collage elements. Written in firstperson, the main text appears in diary-like entries on civilian and RAF notebook pages, while speechballoons add additional comments. A glossary is appended. A short but vivid presentation of one man's war.-- Carolyn Phelan --Booklist

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 4
  • Lexile Measure: AD680L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845076516
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845076511
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 8.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,309,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Happened across this book via the Bomber Command Facebook site. Reading the reviews made this a must have and I was not disappointed. Great story, good mix of cartoon with the reality of the situation facing these brave men, caught in a situation not of their choosing. Having spent a lot of time identifying a specific Halifax bomber found in Albania- and managing to do so solely because of the wedding ring of the tailgunner that was found later at the crash site, this was a compelling book to obtain. My kids (both girls) picked it up and just started reading... "so is this what the guy with the ring did dad?".. can't argue with that!
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Format: Hardcover
For those who have an interest in, or connection with friends who were involved in the European theatre of the World War II, this book captures a very accurate insight into day to day Mitchell bomber crew activities. It presents events as they were told to Mick by his father. Tail-End Charlie is a well thought out and enjoyable story to read for both young and old alike, with very good art work that younger readers in particular will enjoy. As Dick Levy says, "it is as it happened", it is a book for young people that adults with an interest in flying will enjoy. The stories are true.
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