Midnight: the Story of a Light Horse Mark Greenwood, ill. Frané Lessac, Walker Books, NZ$30
“Weeks in the saddle. Water is scarce. Shrapnel kicks up dust. Bullets clip Guy’s hat.”
This picture book is a vivid reminder of the famous charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba in 1917. Using simple sentences (in the present tense to add immediacy), Mark Greenwood tells the true story of Guy Haydon from the Hunter Valley and his black mare, Midnight, who served with the Light Horse in the Middle East. Frané Lessac’s naïve double-page colour illustrations show how strong bonds developed between men and horses in the grim desert campaign. The story culminates in the charge, which has tragic consequences for Guy and Midnight. “Midnight spurs to full gallop. The earth drums beneath her.” The result is a moving portrayal of the fate of one man and his horse in battle.
A map, historical notes and photos of Guy and Midnight are included.
Full publishing details:
Note: This review first appeared in Your Weekend [The Press] issue of 8 Feb 2014.