Brave Bess and the Anzac horses: a true story of courage and loyalty by Susan Brocker (HarperCollins, 2010)
12 chapters; 160 pages with black and white photographs
Subjects: World War One, Middle East, Egypt, Palestine, Mounted Rifles, horses, animals, junior fiction (Year 5-8)
Bess was a real horse, one of the thousands sent overseas in World War One, of which only four (including Bess) returned to New Zealand. Susan has told the story of the horses and the men who rode them and cared for them, using the facts of the campaigns backed up by descriptions of the land and scenery, seen through the eyes of both Bess and her master.
As well as Bess, we meet two other horses – Jack and Flame, the mascot, a dog called Hawker, and a lot of smelly camels.
Susan’s research is impeccable and she includes a map, timeline, historical notes, bibliography and glossary, as well as short summary notes at the start of each chapter.
Bobs books blog calls it “A well written, well researched novel about a little known battle field of World War One in which NZ soldiers and their horses took a vital part.”
About the author
Susan is a wonderful writer with a real love for horses, as shown in her other books such as 1914: riding into war, The drover’s quest and Dreams of warriors. You can read more about her and her work on her website.
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Other books I have reviewed about horses in WW1 include The horses didn't come home by Pamela Rushby and Light Horse boy by Dianne Wolfer.
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