An exciting tale of war told in a unique and engaging way

TITLE = THE LIGHT HORSE BOY

AUTHOR = DIANNE WOLFER

ARTWORK = BRIAN SIMMONDS

GENRE = ANZACS, LIGHT HORSE, WAR

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9, 10

This book is hard to classify as it is part historical story (told partly through letters) and part illustration and historical document. Mates from the farm, Jim and Charlie sign up for the Light Horse regiment – partly because of their riding capabilities and partly because of their expertise with animals. With their beloved horses they are sent first to the Middle East to train themselves and their animals. However, they soon find that was seemed like a great adventure at home on the farm is far different when up close to the front line, especially when they see the impact of war on their beloved horses. However, apart from danger and action, this story also reveals the mateship between the soldiers, the bond with their animals and the humour that was never far from the surface for the Australian armed forces, even facing great obstacles in battle.

Even the illustrations are a wonderful mix of hand-drawn charcoal drawings and genuine photographs from the time period. So like the narrative, there is a sense of history being mixed with fiction – and the format is neither quite a picture book nor an illustrated text. It is an amazing mix of both which makes it a rich resource and a rich reading experience. Brian Simmonds b/w illustrations are evocative and appealing, the photos providing an extra element of veracity to the mix.

 All in all a wonderful volume and worth taking the time to explore.

This book was on the Short List for the 2014 CBCA Book of the Year (Younger Readers) before being announced as AN HONOUR BOOK!! CONGRATULATIONS DIANNE WOLFER & BRIAN SIMMONDS. 

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

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