Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Oxley Christian College

Book review: The Soldier’s Gift


The soldier's gift)

The Soldier’s Gift by Tony Palmer, illustrated by Jane Tanner, Penguin Books Australia, ISBN 9780670077571

Atlanta read a copy of this book in her school library.

The Soldier’s Gift is about a young girl, Emily, who is desperate to do anything to stop her brother, Tom, from going to World War I in Turkey.

She tries her hardest to stop Tom, but when the time comes for Tom to leave the farm, she knows he needs to.

Tom faces the Turks in battle!

What will he write in letters home to his family?

What are his family thinking about while they wait for news?

This book can increase our learning about the Anzacs and life on the home front during a tragic time of war.

Atlanta attends Oxley Christian College and this is her first book review for Alphabet Soup. If you’d like to read more book reviews by Oxley Christian College students, click on ‘Oxley Christian College’ in the grey categories box in the right column of this blog. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Anzac Day, book reviews, 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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