This is a picture book featuring a popular topic, animals in war. It's based on the true story of Bunny, one of the horses used in World War I. Bunny was a police horse chosen by the army. He and his rider, Bud, survive poison gas, help move supplies and wounded men, and pull cannons. After Bud is killed, his brother Tom is given Bunny and together they suffer the privations of war; Bunny is so hungry he eats his own blanket at one point. Bunny proves himself to Tom and the other soldiers and eventually the war is won and Tom returns home. Bunny, however, like all the other horses is left behind with farmers in Belgium.
A brief history of World War I, the 9th Battery, horses in war, and the end of war and the fate of the horses is included in the back. There are no sources listed or anything to delineate the difference between historical fact (which is apparently very thin on this story) and the author's imagination.
Lafrance's illustrations have a friendly, cartoon feel to them. The people look like wooden dolls and the battlefields are remarkably tidy. Review suggest this as a good introduction to World War I for young children; it doesn't shy away from the death, but the pictures and story are sanitized for younger readers and there is no blood or graphic depictions of violence. Which, frankly, to me makes no sense. Why would you want to introduce the concept of world war to a six year old anyways? Bunny always looks sturdy and healthy, even when he is starving. The battlefields are as orderly as a well-groomed park and the soldiers all look reasonably healthy and in good spirits.
Verdict: My review of this is pretty much personally biased. This is, in my opinion, a completely inappropriate introduction to a horrific war. I'm doubtful about the need to have books on world war for very young children anyways, but I certainly wouldn't recommend this one. The completely sanitized pictures convey nothing about the realities of war and make it look like they're going for a little vacation in Europe. This is just my opinion - many other review sources thought this was an excellent introduction to the war for young children. I won't be purchasing it for my library though.