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)