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Author: Angus, Sam
During World War I, British soldier Billy, who is really too young to be a soldier, meets a refugee named Captain and his donkey, Hey-ho, who teach Billy what it means to be brave, loyal, and fearless, and above all, what it means to be a friend.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 6.80
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 192331
Common Core Standards
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 5 → Reading → RL Literature → 5.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
School Library Journal (08/01/16)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 08/01/2016 Gr 6–9—Billy Bayliss should not be in Egypt in 1915, preparing to leave for Gallipoli. At 15, he lied his way into the British Army—he is scared, self-conscious, and alone. Captain, the 14-year-old son of a corporal, also should not be there, attached to the Provision Corps with his faithful donkey, Hey Ho. Because of their young age, the two form a tight friendship as they survive campaign after campaign in World War I. On the front lines, Billy sees the unimaginable horrors; Captain and Hey Ho sympathize, having seen their share of atrocities as survivors of an unnamed tragedy. Even as Billy grows familiar with war and distances himself from Captain, the boy and his donkey do not waver in their devotion. The physical demands of fighting in the parched Middle East take their toll on Billy's mind, and he makes a terrible mistake, sending him into a grief- and guilt-stricken tailspin. At the close of the war, Billy is alive but with a broken heart and fractured mind. Miraculously (and slightly unbelievably), the source of his grief and guilt resolves itself and Billy begins to heal. The tight, powerful writing is reminiscent of Michael Morpurgo's war novels—gritty but not gory. The story is Billy's, but Captain and Hey Ho are not just secondary characters; their unswerving loyalty is a driving factor behind Billy's thoughts, actions, and emotions. The donkey is representative of the thousands of unsung donkeys, mules, horses, and camels used during World War I. VERDICT Though not for sensitive readers, this is an important look at war and true friendship that should have a place in most collections.—Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI - Copyright 2016 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 11/01/2016 It’s 1915 and Billy is the youngest member of his platoon, having lied about his age to fight in the war. When his platoon is sent out to Gallipoli, Billy befriends Captain, a young refugee boy, and his donkey, Hey-Ho. Through the horrible war front and battles, Billy and Captain develop a bond that teaches them about friendship and loyalty. A lack of historical background for the battle in which Billy is involved could cause some confusion among readers, and the density of the story may turn off others, thus limiting its appeal. Yet the novel itself is well written, and the friendship between Billy and Captain affectingly rendered. As with Angus’ previous war narratives, Soldier Dog (2013) and A Horse Called Hero (2014), this book is perfect for fans of Michael Morpurgo, or for those who enjoy animal stories with historical settings. Recommended for larger collections or where war-themed historical fiction circulates. - Copyright 2016 Booklist.