Tuesday 6 March 2012

66. The Horses Didn't Come Home by Pamela Rushby

The Horses Didn't Come Home by Pamela Rushby
Published March 2012 Harper Collins

From the publisher:

The last great cavalry charge in history took place at Beersheba in the Sinai Desert in 1917. It was Australian soldiers and horses that took part in, and won, this amazing, unexpected, unorthodox victory. The men proudly claimed it was their great-hearted horses that won the day. But in the end, the horses didn't come home...

There have been plenty of war stories written for children, there have even been a number of books about animals in war. This story is Australian, and possible not as well known as the story of the ANZACs at Gallipoli. But unlike the devastating outcome at Gallipoli, the cavalry charge at Beersheba in the Sinai Desert was a victory.

The story begins in Queensland 1914 on a property called Hendersons Run. When army officers come to the property looking for horses to buy, 16 year old Harry and Jack decide that their future is to serve their country in the army. Not just the army, but the Light Horse regiment, where they can even take their own horses. When Harry's horse becomes lame just before he is due to leave, his sister Laura gives him her precious horse Bunty.

The story is told by Jack and through his letters to his family. He even writes letters to Laura from Bunty, keeping them informed about his life in Egypt and the Middle East. Although the book is set during the war, it is not a graphic war story. For 2 years Harry and Jack are in Egypt where they train and ready themselves for battle. In this story we get an amazing look at the day to day life of these men.

The title of the book leaves no doubt as to how the story will end. I had some understanding of the Light Horse regiment, and I did know that they couldn't bring the horses home, but reading this story made it very real. What Harry did because he loved his horse, was heartbreaking.

For more information on the battle at Beersheba and the Light Horse, click on the image below.

Who will like this book: Boys and girls age 10+
Read it if you like: War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

No comments:

Post a Comment