Light Horse Boy / Dianne Wolfer

light horse boy


With the 100th year anniversary of the landing in Gallopoli coming up this weekend, we have been reviewing ANZAC related books. I’ve chosen Light Horse Boy by Dianne Wolfer. I read this one over a few nights with my boys (10 & 12).

Light Horse Boy follows the tale of Jim and Charlie, who enthusiastically enlist in the 4th Light Horse Regiment in 1914 expecting adventures and excitement, they soon discover the brutal truths of war and this changes their lives forever. My children both found it hard to understand why Jim and Charlie would  lie about their age to join the war. Why would anyone lie to join the war effort? I’m not sure if Jim and Charlie would have volunteered had they known the challenges and horror they were soon to face. Maybe they would have?  What we found interesting about Light Horse Boy is the many perspectives shown of the impact of World War One and the less explored side of the War that is shown; The Light Horse Regiment Ambulance, the Medical Corps and  information about the farriers and the veterinarians that cared for the Walers.


A combination of narration, letters, and photos make up the body of this work. The letters are between Jim and his sister Alice and help show the personal side of the War, the effect it had on families waiting to hear from their loved ones. This part was the most touching and thought provoking. I felt quite emotional reading the letters from Alice to Jim- more so towards the end of his tour. Overall, we quite enjoyed reading this one. It’s not something I would have picked for a fun read but if wanting to know more about WWI or wanting to introduce this important historical topic to your children this is the book for you. I would highly recommend this for children aged 10+.

The story is fictional but is based on the historical events that happened during World War I (1914-1918). The characters are created from meticulous research of  records and diaries from the Great War.

Light Horse Boy was included in the CBCA Young Readers Book of the Year Award Notables for 2014 and the author Dianne Wolfer is a local, she hails from the South West of  Western Australia. We have a number of her titles in our collection, I have included two of the covers below and you can view all of her titles here.

photographs in the mud

The Kokoda Track, 1942. Jack and Hoshi are soldiers from opposing armies, who meet in battle and discover they have much more in common than they could ever realise.

Light house girl

Fay lives alone with her father on bleak, windswept Breaksea Island, but her isolated life takes a dramatic turn with the outbreak of World War I.


Take a look at the book trailer published by Fremantle Press