Bunny the Brave War Horse
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.