Book reviews by Gabriel, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Last Light Horse

The image shows the cover of a non fiction book: The Last light Horse by Dianne Wolfer and illustrated by Brian Simmonds. The cover is predominantly purple and includes a sepia photographic style illustration at the centre of the cover with a soldier from WWI leaning against a brown horse with a white spot on its forehead.


The Last Light Horse by Dianne Wolfer, illustrated by Brian Simmonds, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781760991302

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

This exceptional book by Dianne Wolfer is about the only horse survivor from the First World War – Sandy. Sandy was only one out of 136,000 horses sent from Australia to aid the British and Australian officers. The horses were in a new climate and weren’t used to the war. How would Sandy cope with all the fighting?  

The book takes you on a journey going back to WWI to show you what happened in those days. It also has different newspaper clips from that time and pictures to help you visualize the text. The newspaper clips also tell the opinions that were circulating around in Australia concerning the war such as the Declaration of War which was reported on  Friday 7 August 1914 and the deaths of important generals.

I rated this book five stars out of five because it shows Australia’s perspective of the war and has beautiful illustrations. It should be for people interested in history to read.

Read an excerpt from book.

Listen to the author Dianne Wolfer reading from the book.

Gabriel is a regular book reviewer at Alphabet Soup. You can read more of his reviews here. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Anzac Day, Book reviews by Rebecca, teachers' resources

Book Review: Light Horse Boy

Light Horse Boy by Dianne Wolfer, ill. Brian Simmonds, ISBN 9781922089137, Fremantle Press

A review copy of this book was provided by Fremantle Press

Light Horse Boy (cover)

Lighthouse Girl (cover)This new picture book was recently launched in time for Anzac Day — Light Horse Boy is a companion book to Lighthouse Girl and both are worth buying (or borrowing — ask for them at your library).

When war is declared on Germany in 1914, Jim and his best mate, Charlie, decide to sign up for the war. Jim is not quite old enough to sign up but he lies about his age. When he resigns from his job to go to war, Jim’s boss gives him a horse called Breaker, instead of his wages. Jim and Charlie think joining the Light Horse Regiment is a bit of an adventure and that the war will be over in a few months. But they quickly discover how terrible life on the frontline really is.

Light Horse Boy is based on historical events, though the characters are fictional. (On the first page, the author explains that the characters were created “after researching the records and diaries of Australian and New Zealand soldiers who served in the ‘Great War'”.)

Jim’s story is told as a narrative with charcoal illustrations, and the book includes copies of his letters and telegrams to his sister Alice. Readers are taken back in time with old photographs, maps, and newspaper clippings.

Reading Jim’s letters is like reading letters from someone you know (your own brother, or a friend).  Through Jim’s eyes we see how war affected young Australian soldiers and their horses serving in World War I, and how hard it was for friends and family left behind.

Highly recommended.

© April 2013 “Review of Light Horse Boy” by Rebecca Newman (


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