Light Horse Boy, by Dianne Wolfer

Now I understand why the landing on April 25th is being called heroic.
We’ve landed in hell.
Bob didn’t make it. He was hit as we struggled ashore. I keep going over that moment. Writing a letter to his wife was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Harder even than going over the side of our ship.

Britain has declared war on Germany, and Australia has vowed to be there. Jim, seeing a chance for adventure rushes to join up before the war ends without him. Soon he and his horse, Breaker, are sailing from Melbourne, off to do their bit. For four years Jim lives the terrible reality of life on the frontline. If he ever returns home, he will be a changed man.

Light Horse Boy is a beautiful record of one soldier’s war. Whilst fiction, it presents a story which could so well be the story of a real soldier’s experience. Using a blend of third person narrative and letters, chiefly between Jim and his sister Alice, back in Australia, Woofer takes readers on a journey through the the years of the first World War, focussing on the role of the Lighthorseman in Gallipoli and Egypt.

Light Horse Boy is a companion volume to Lighthouse Girl and features the same beautiful hard cover design and the brilliant illustrative work of Brian Simmonds. The two complement each other beautifully, though focussing on different aspects of the same war and featuring different characters (with the exception of Charlie, who is friends with Jim but also connects with the lighthouse girl, Fay).

A picture book for older readers, Light Horse Boy is suitable for upper primary and teens.

Light Horse Boy

Light Horse Boy, by Dianne Wolfer, illustrated by Brian Simmonds
Fremantle Press, 2013
ISBN 9781922089137

Available from good bookstores or online.