Innocent Heroes: Stories of animals in the First World War (Paperback)

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A unique celebration of the important role animals play in war, and an insightful look at the taking of Vimy Ridge from the perspective of 3 men in a Canadian platoon.

Never before have the stories of animal war heroes been collected in such a special way. This book consists of eight connected fictional stories about a Canadian platoon in WW1. The Storming Normans have help from some very memorable animals: we meet a dog who warns soldiers in the trench of a gas attack, a donkey whose stubbornness saves the day, a cat who saves soldiers from rat bites, and many more. Each story is followed by nonfiction sections that tell the true story of these animals from around the world and of the Canadian soldiers who took Vimy Ridge. Through the friendship that grows between three of these soldiers in particular, we get a close-up look at life in the trenches, the taking of Vimy Ridge, the bonds between soldiers and their animals and what it meant to be Canadian in WW1.

About the Author

SIGMUND BROUWER writes for both children and adults. In the last ten years, he has given writing workshops to students in schools from the Arctic Circle to inner city Los Angeles. One of the writers in Orca's Seven series, he has published well over 100 books for kids, from YA fiction to picture books to nonfiction, with close to 4 million books in print. He recently won the Arthur Ellis award for his book Dead Man's Switch, which was also a finalist for the Red Maple as well. Devil's Pass, from the Seven series, was shortlisted for the John Spray Mystery Award and the Red Maple. Sigmund and his family live half the year in Nashville, Tennessee, and half the year in Red Deer, Alberta. For more information, visit

Praise For…

PRAISE FOR Innocent Heroes:

"Brouwer uses the assault on Vimy Ridge during World War I to highlight the bravery of both Canadian troops and the animals that served . . . a worthy introduction to the Great War." --Kirkus Reviews

"[A]n exploration of the bonds between soldiers and beasts, coupled with an introduction to Indigenous issues for young readers." --CM Magazine

"Don't miss this one." --Manhattan Book Review

"In the days before technology as we know it now, [animals] proved an essential ingredient to save human lives. A mix of fictional stories followed by a short biography of the real animal that served this is a great alternative to a straight textbook presentation of what the conditions were like during World War I." --Recreational Scholar

"These stories [are] a revelation about how the world and wars worked before the advent of high-tech communications. Suddenly, history becomes gripping stuff, as if the horrors of cold, loud, damp, muddy trench warfare wasn’t gripping enough on their own. It’s about the triumph of the human spirit, and animals." --Montreal Gazette

"The book is a winning combination of fact and fiction . . ." --Quill & Quire

"In one relatively short book, Brouwer [. . .] entertains, educates, and touches the emotions." --Historical Novel Society

PRAISE FOR Thief of Glory:

"War. Love at first sight. Rivalry. Human nature. Art. Brouwer (Broken Angel) weaves timeless themes into the story of a 70-year journey toward redemption . . . Thorough historical research, skillful use of foreshadowing, and keen insight into the human spirit make this one of Brouwer's best." --Starred Review, Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780735267978
ISBN-10: 0735267979
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: May 19th, 2020
Pages: 208