Running with the Horses

Alison Lester

Running with the Horses
Penguin Books Australia
1 October 2019

Running with the Horses

Alison Lester

From one of Australia’s best-loved children’s book creators comes a beautiful new edition of this unforgettable story of courage, adventure and friendship.   

Nina lives with her father above the palace stables at the Royal Academy of Dancing Horses. She loves watching the famous white stallions as they parade for the crowds, but her favourite horse is a mare called Zelda - an old cab horse Nina often pats on her way home from school.   

When Nina’s world changes dramatically, she and her father have to flee from the city. Their journey over the mountains with Zelda and the stallions seems impossible, with danger at every turn. It will require all of Nina’s bravery, daring and faith in an extraordinary old horse.


Originally published ten years ago as a long picture book, this exciting historical story has now been transformed into a beautiful compact hardback suitable for junior readers. Alison Lester has loosely based her story on the rescue of the Lipizzaner stallions from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna during World War II.

It is told from the perspective of a young girl, Nina, whose father works at the riding school while Vienna is under siege. They must escape on horseback through the mountains, taking four stallions with them. Nina convinces her father to also bring along an old cab horse who has been abandoned. It is fortunate they do, as the old horse proves invaluable. As is appropriate for the age of the audience, the atrocities of war are mostly kept in the background during their perilous journey.

Interspersed with Lester’s absolutely magnificent illustrations (particularly those of horses), this is an elegant publication of a thrilling adventure story by one of Australia’s greatest children’s authors. It will be loved by readers aged 7+.

Angela Crocombe is the manager of Readings Kids.

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