- Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd
- Format: Paperback | 192 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 14mm | 159g
- Publication date: 7 November 2011
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 1405259418
- ISBN 13: 9781405259415
- Edition statement: Film tie-in ed
- Illustrations note: colour plates
- Sales rank: 1,236
The book that inspired Steven Spielberg's Hollywood blockbuster movie and an internationally acclaimed stage show ...it can only be Michael Morpurgo's War Horse. In the deadly chaos of the First World War, one horse witnesses the reality of battle from both sides of the trenches. Bombarded by artillery, with bullets knocking riders from his back, Joey tells a powerful story of the truest friendships surviving in terrible times. The bedlam of battle had begun. All around me men cried and fell to the ground, and horses reared and screamed in an agony of fear and pain. The shells whined and roared overhead, and every explosion seemed like an earthquake to us. One horse has the seen the best and the worst of humanity. The power of war and the beauty of peace. This is his story. Former Children's Laureate and award-winning author, Michael Morpurgo, has written nearly 100 books for children, many of them war stories. But none have become as famous as War Horse. Inspiring a long-running stage show and a box office film directed by Steven Spielberg, War Horse has become an international sensation. Read the book that started it all; the stunning wartime classic.
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Michael Morpurgo has written over one hundred books and won many awards. In 1976 Michael and his wife Clare started the charity Farms For City Children, which aims to relieve the poverty of experience of young children from inner city and urban areas. In 1999 they were awarded the MBE for their work in creating these farms and in 2006 Michael received an OBE. His novel War Horse was adapted into a hugely successful and critically acclaimed West End play in 2007. Michael is a tireless champion for children's books and was formerly the Children's Laureate.
By Wayne S. Walker 13 Nov 2012
Joey is a young colt who was purchased for three guineas by an English farmer. The farmer's son Albert is thirteen at the time and begins to care for Joey. But when World War I begins a couple of years later, Albert's father sells Joey to Captain Nicholls of the British cavalry because he needs the money. Albert, who is still too young to join the army, promises that someday he will find the horse. Joey is ridden in a disastrous cavalry charge into German machine guns. Captain Nicholls is killed, and the horse is captured as a prisoner of war. The Germans use him first for hospital cart transport and then for artillery cart pulling but allow him to be stabled on a French farm where he is taken care of by the farmer and his granddaughter Emelie. Bolting after his friend Topthorn dies, Joey ends up in no-man's land between the German and English trenches and through a coin-toss is once again taken by the English but is very ill. Meanwhile, Albert has joined the veterinary corps. What will happen to Joey? And will Albert and Joey ever see each other again?
There is not as much good historical fiction for young people from the World War I era as from other well-known war periods. Readers can get unique and perceptive views of World War I as soldiers from both sides of the conflict share their thoughts and feelings with Joey. The age range is listed for eight and up, but I would recommend it more for twelve and up. Some of the battle scenes, while not overly graphic, are rather blunt and might not be appropriate for younger children, especially those who are sensitive. Also, the "h" word is used a few times as a curse, and the name of God is found as an interjection on several occasions. The novel is said to have an "anti-war" message, but I think older young people can still enjoy the story, which is based on a true story about a horse named Warrior, even if they don't necessarily share the attempted "neutral" stance of the author. Of course, everyone prefers peace, but many of us still believe that there were a right side and a wrong side in World War I. And the way in which the passing of time is dealt with might be confusing to some. The book was originally published in 1982 but didn't become well known until made into an award winning play in 2007 and an acclaimed film in 2011.