by Sigmund Brouwer
Tundra Books, 2017
$21.99, 208 pp, ages 10+
Have you ever wondered about the roles animals played in World War I? I hadn’t given this much thought until I read Innocent Heroes. This book tells tales about a Canadian World War I platoon known as the Storming Normans. It is divided into short stories that follow the lives of the soldiers and their animals. The setting of Innocent Heroes is mainly in the trenches before the battle of Vimy Ridge.
My favourite part of the book was when a medic Belgian Shepherd named Biscotte was sent to help wounded soldiers in No Man’s Land. Two Canadian soldiers, who were friends, had been shot in their legs and were worried about infection as they lay in the muddy craters after an attack. Biscotte had been trained to dodge bullets and move undetected in order to help the soldiers. Biscotte delivered First Aid supplies to the injured soldiers and helped the other members of the platoon locate them.
I found it interesting to learn how animals were so helpful during the war. There were other interesting facts in this book as well, such as how many Aboriginal men joined the war and how they used their skills with the land to help their fellow soldiers. After each story there are facts that are related to the animal stories.
This is a great book for anyone who enjoys reading animal stories or readers who may be interested in historical fiction based on facts.
Review by Connor, age 15, grade 10.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Spring 2018 issue.