A fifteen-year-old Australian farm boy lies about his age to enlist to war and is caught up in the horrors of World War I in Egypt and on the Western Front, where 5,500 Australian troops were lost in two days at Fromelles alone. This boy’s story in this unique, stirring picture book is based on true stories of the twenty-three teenage soldiers – one only fourteen – who fought with the Australian army in World War I, as recorded at the Australian War Memorial (their names among a list of 60,000 Australian soldiers killed in that war). The author’s grandfather was a boy soldier who, unlike the hero of the book, did survive to return home. Told in the boy’s own simple language and with extracts from his letters home, the story is extremely moving and evocative of the real tragedy of that worst of all wars.
2010 CBCA Eve Pownall Award: Notable Children’s Book
2010 CBCA Book of the Year Award: Notable Picture Book