Bunny the Brave War Horse: Based on a True Story

Overview

Award-winning nonfiction author Elizabeth MacLeod brings a slice of World War I history to life in this poignant picture book. It is based on the true story of a?police?horse named Bunny and?his riders,?brothers?Bud and?Thomas Dundas,?sent?to the European front as part of the?9th Battery Canadian Field Artillery. This quietly but powerfully told tale explores many of the actual on-the-ground hardships WWI soldiers endured, including a gas attack, wounded and killed comrades, exploding bombs and episodes of severe...
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Overview

Award-winning nonfiction author Elizabeth MacLeod brings a slice of World War I history to life in this poignant picture book. It is based on the true story of a?police?horse named Bunny and?his riders,?brothers?Bud and?Thomas Dundas,?sent?to the European front as part of the?9th Battery Canadian Field Artillery. This quietly but powerfully told tale explores many of the actual on-the-ground hardships WWI soldiers endured, including a gas attack, wounded and killed comrades, exploding bombs and episodes of severe hunger. By focusing on the tender relationship between Bunny and the brothers and showing how he was able to provide comfort to the soldiers, the author makes the grim details easier for young readers to absorb. The somber palette employed by illustrator Marie Lafrance in her rich, distinctive and detailed artwork -- all on two-page spreads -- provides the appropriate level of seriousness. As a bonus, the author has provided a brief historical recap at the end that provides more background information about the real-life Bunny, Tom and Bud, with dates and specifics about WWI, which would be useful for creating a global studies teaching plan. The geography of the region is enhanced with a color map. This powerful book would make an excellent resource for any social studies unit about WWI, while it also works as a personalized reminder of the toll that war takes on humanity. Early readers interested in history or horses would enjoy it on their own.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
08/01/2014
Gr 2–4—During World War I, Toronto's mounted police force sent horses and men to fight in Europe. This fictionalized true story focuses on one of those horses, Bunny, a particularly brave and skilled mount known for his stamina and courage. The text starts off at a good pace but comes to a halt on the fifth double-page spread, when a riveting moment about Bunny and his rider facing mustard gas is followed by a generic summary of Bunny's wartime duties. The book describes other difficult aspects of Bunny's war experience, such as near starvation (for instance, one of the horses in Bunny's paddock ate a blanket for sustenance). However, as the book is targeted to young readers, the illustrations are not graphic, and their style, color scheme, and composition convey the narrative well. Back matter includes more facts about Bunny and the men who were assigned to him. While this is a poignant story, the length and subject matter may make it a challenging sell for readers; careful placement and readers advisory efforts are a must.—Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-30
Can a horse named Bunny ever be a war horse?It's World War I, and horses, especially police horses, are needed for the war effort. Canada is a long way from the battlefields of Belgium, but Bunny the police horse and police officers Thomas and Bud Dundas, brothers, join the war effort. On the very first day, men and horses are put to the test with mustard gas. It's clear that Bunny is up to the challenge. Bunny is assigned to Bud, and together, they deliver messages and carry wounded soldiers off the battlefields. Other horses are shown pulling ambulances and artillery. The gravity of war is made clear, especially when Bud is killed in combat, leaving brother Tom bereft. Bunny and Tom team up and are still alive at the end of the war. Gentle, muted tones provide the right balance for this historically rooted tale of bravery, loss and love. Though the skyline might show puffs of smoke left over from shelling, the foreground tells the story of the dedication of both horse and rider. The final spread, though lit with the hope of the war's end, is tinged with sadness: Bunny, like all the war horses from Canada, has been sold to farmers in Belgium, and Tom voyages home alone. The endnotes provide ample extra information for young historians.Emotionally charged but never manipulative, Bunny's story and the story of World War I bravery will not be soon forgotten. (map)(Picture book. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781771380249
  • Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 8/1/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 500L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Elizabeth MacLeod has written many children's books, including nine titles in the Snapshots Biography series, numerous titles in the Kids Can Read, Kids Books Of and Kids Can Do It series, Why Do Horses Have Manes?, What Did Dinosaurs Eat?, and Monster Fliers. She lives in Toronto.

Marie Lafrance lives in Montreal, Quebec. She has provided illustrations for magazines, newspapers, posters, billboards and dozens of educational books for children. Now she primarily works on picture books, using her warm and gently humorous illustrations to delight and entertain children of all ages.

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