There were 136,000 Australian horses sent to fight during the First World War. Just one came home. From the high country of Victoria to the desert sand of Egypt, from the waters off Gallipoli to the battlefields of France, this is the extraordinary story of Sandy, the only returning warhorse. The Last Light Horse is the fourth and final book in the Light series, which began with Lighthouse Girl and includes the CBCA shortlisted Light Horse Boy.
Dianne Wolfer’s Light series is a standout historical book series for kids that explores the extraordinary, inspiring and courageous stories of World War I. The Last Light Horse follows light horse Sandy on his journey to return from the war. Engaging, and at times heartbreaking, The Last Light Horse is a fantastic conclusion to the series and a heartfelt look at an unsung Australian hero.
We are first introduced to Sandy as a newborn foal, growing up on a small Tallangatta farm. From there we follow Sandy as the world slowly falls into chaos, and the young horse is forced into joining the war effort. Sandy travels the world with his many owners, helping in the war effort wherever he can.
Brian Simmonds and Wolfer have collaborated on the previous books in the Light series, so it’s no surprise to see his fantastic charcoal illustrations on show here. Wolfer combines Simmonds sketches with real historic photos and documents from the war, creating a seamless blend between the two mediums.
The Last Light Horse is an excellent book to bring into the classroom and is sure to provoke some intriguing class discussion. Wolfer also provides some thought-provoking questions that cover several related subject areas, such as history, geography and visual arts.
The Last Light Horse gives readers an astonishing look into one of the most extraordinary stories of World War I. With an educational focus and breathtaking illustrations, this is one inspiring story of courage and sacrifice, perfect for fans of Stephen Spielberg’s War Horse. Suitable for ages 9+.