‘The Lighthorsemen’ and Roland Perry

classic Australian movie parry

Congratulations to the team at Albany Library for another wonderful event. Last night, before a screening of the classic Aussie movie The Lighthorsemen (complete with wine and popcorn), I spoke about my research for Light Horse Boy, including details about Sandy, the one Australian horse who came home from WW1 (New Zealand horse, Bess also came back). Reading the Beersheeba galloping scene (pgs 78-80) was fun as I don’t think I’ve looked at that part since proofing the final draft in 2012. As is often the case I saw a word I’d like to edit as I was reading, which is always disconcerting, but that’s another story… If anyone wants to read more about Sandy, there’s a short chapter in Anthony Hill’s terrific book for young readers, Animal Heroes.

Last night I was also excited to share some of my recent reading. I’m currently researching anthropomorphism in children’s literature for my PhD at UWA (more about that in future posts), and have found two loves; animal stories and WW1 stories combined in books by Roland Perry and Ion Idriess. Roland Perry will be in Albany next week for the commemoration of the 1914 Anzac departure and we will be In Conversation with other military authors/songwriters, Peter FitzSimons, Ted Egan and Ross Coulthart. I’ll be posting more about that next week, but in the meantime this site has all the latest info.

I had read Idriess’s Horrie the Wog Dog a while back, but had no idea until reading Perry’s Horrie the War Dog  that there was another wonderful twist to this story. If you haven’t read these books, I really recommend both – but read Idriess first! Last week I also read Perry’s Bill the Bastard. What a terrific read. Again I’d read about ‘Bill’ years ago during my Light Horse Boy research and toyed with the idea of trying to shape the scene where Bill saves several men in battle into a picture book for young children. I could visualise the scenes so clearly, but how to get past the name; Bill the Bastard isn’t a book parents and primary teachers would rush to buy, but Bill the Naughty Horse didn’t work either!

Roland Perry has combined that pivotal scene with other fascinating details of this horse. It’s a great read. Next week I hope to post more details about the commemorations. Best till then, Dianne

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