Children’s picture books have many different heroes doing all sorts of wonderful things. Australian author has written a book about a real-life true hero, actually two heroes, in The Adventures of Cargo the Army Truck.
The Adventures of Cargo the Army Truck stories are based on the true story of two Australian heroes, William ‘Billy’ Baird OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia) and Cargo, his retired army truck. They tell stories of when the road between Hay and Ivanhoe in Western New South Wales, Australia becomes impassable when during the rainy seasons when the heavy rains turn the dirt road into a muddy track, how Billy and Cargo serve the trapped and isolated communities by delivering food and other supplies.
The first book in the series, Cargo Gets a New Job!, tells the story of how Cargo spent his life in the Australian army from 1964 when he was born to 1984 before he retired. But a relaxing retirement wasn’t in Cargo’s future, ex-army man William ‘Billy’ Baird bought Cargo for some very important work. Billy and Cargo became very friends, relying on each other and working extremely well together.
Billy was from Western New South Wales and knew how bad the only road between Hay and Ivanhoe could become when the rain came, effectively cutting off the towns and the people for weeks at a time. The Australian government hadn’t asphalted or paved the Cobb Highway, leaving it as a dirt track. So when the heavy rains came it turned the dirt into a mud bath that people couldn’t drive on. This left the towns cut off, so Billy and Cargo would travel the highway delivering mail, food and other perishables. They were the lifeline for the people who otherwise could be without basics like bread, milk and even fuel for their generators to power their homes. They would travel the dangerous road, sometimes getting stuck and having to dug out or be winched out by farmers. But Billy and Cargo always got through. Cargo certainly enjoys his new job and his friendship with Billy.
Overall, The Adventures of Cargo the Army Truck: Cargo Gets a New Job! by Paul Dekmetzian is an enchanting story based on real events. Children will love reading about Billy and Cargo’s adventures of selfishly helping out isolated communities.
The story is very engaging, written in an easy to read and understand way that children will be able to enjoy with ease and grasp the concept. It relays the story behind an Australian hero and his beloved army truck Cargo, a true-life unselfish act of caring and humanity.
Whilst it is a short children’s picture book it gets across the history of Cargo and Billy, their adventures and friendship, meeting new people whilst showing how true heroes are there to help others in need.
As it is a picture book, it is of course packed with some beautiful illustrations that help bring the story alive.
It is an excellent book to explore the history and work of two true heroes. A really enjoyable tale of a historic army vehicle and his new role after retirement.
If you want to know more about Billy and Cargo, you can watch a very interesting news item from ABC’s Countrywide program about their exploits on YouTube here (it is definitely worth a watch).
RRP: £9.99 (Paperback) / £2.78 (Kindle)
Available to buy from Amazon here.