20 April, 2014

Book Review: Light Horse Boy

From GoodreadsIn 1914 Jim and Charlie abandon the Australian outback for the excitement and adventure of the war to end all wars. But in the Light Horse they quickly discover the brutal realities of life on the frontline. And nothing will ever be the same again.
Featuring stunning charcoal sketches by Brian Simmonds alongside primary source documents and historical photos, Light Horse Boy goes behind the scenes of the great ANZAC legends for an intimate look at their experience of World War I.

Thoughts: I love my Kindle, but books like this are why we need to keep hard copy as well. A book like this would just not work in an electronic format. This is beautiful. It's well written, well researched and just all round charming. It follows the story of Jim and his horse Breaker as they fight in the Great War - World War I. It starts with Jim joining up as a 17 year old (lying about his age) and follows him through to the end. The story is told through traditional third person narration and letters between Jim and his sister Alice back in Australia. Wolfer skilful story telling shows younger readers how many of those who joined up saw it as a big adventure and how they came to realise it was actually a terrible, horrible experience. In the lead up to Anzac Day, this book would be an excellent resource in any classroom to facilitate discussion and reflection.
I read most of this book sitting on a beach, surrounded by sand in the hot Australian sun. It made me pause to think as I read the descriptions of the Egyptian sand and sun and how something I was enjoying so much could also be so harsh and hard.
I read this as part of my yearly challenge to read the Children's Book Council of Australia Younger Readers Book of the Year awards. It's the first I have read in this category and it's was a great start.