Friday, 7 March 2014

Midnight: the story of a light horse

Midnight: the story of a light horse by Mark Greenwood, illustrated by Frane Lessac (Walker Books)
HC RRP $27.95
ISBN 9781921977718
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

This narrative non-fiction picture book tells the tale of Lieutenant Guy Haydon and his beloved horse Midnight. The mare was born at midnight, thus her name. Guy trained her and together they travelled to Cairo by ship where they were separated when the horses are left behind. Guy leaves for Gallipoli. What happens next is a deeply moving truth about the love between a man and a horse. Their coming together at Beersheba is unforgettable.

The story is inspired by the folklore of the Haydon family of horse breeders at Bloomfield Station in the Hunter Valley, NSW, where Midnight was born. Mark Greenwood’s sparse and precise text is beautifully complemented by his wife, Frane Lessac’s illustrations. These are presented in full page colour. This team of creators has done justice to a story that is one of the many about Walers that became legendary in the Australian Light Horse.

These books are invaluable to lovers of historical events. They inspire research on the topic and excite the mind and heart. They take readers - regardless of age - on a journey back through time, and open doors on reality and the history of our country.

At the end of the book, the photos of Guy and Midnight, and information on the Charge at Beersheba which includes a map, bring the story closer to the reader.

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