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War Horse

War Horse

4.4 1715
by Michael Morpurgo

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A powerful tale of war, redemption, and a hero's journey--now available in paperback!

In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation


A powerful tale of war, redemption, and a hero's journey--now available in paperback!

In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey's courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer's son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

Editorial Reviews

Regina Marler
Although a first-person animal narrator asks a lot of the reader, Joey's voice—unsentimental and brave under fire—amplifies the emotional impact of the story…The historical details in this short book powerfully ground it in its moment, but a timeless question drives the story: Will the two friends, Joey and Albert, ever see each other again?
—The New York Times
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Joey, a beautiful red bay horse, has settled into his life on the farm and his friendship with thirteen-year-old Albert. When Albert's father who is in need of money for the upkeep of the farm sells Joey to a British cavalry unit, Joey finds himself being shipped to Europe where World War I has just begun. The reader sees the war through Joey's eyes. His losses and his triumphs are captivatingly detailed. Captain Nicholls, his first rider, dies in battle but not before he paints a portrait of Joey. It is that portrait hanging in a village hall that inspired this tale. Later, Joey and his rider are captured by the Germans and Joey becomes part of the team of horses that pull the ambulance wagons from the battle line. After that he enjoys some loving, tender care from a young girl and her grandfather. That soon ends when he is conscripted to pull a canon for the German army. The horror of the conditions in which the soldiers live is mirrored in the events of Joey's life. A meeting between an old German and a young British soldier over who will take Joey provides a thoughtful commentary on the futility of war. This is an eloquently told and absorbing friendship story. Horse lovers will be on the edge of their seats from the beginning to the end. This runner-up for the Whitbread Award goes far beyond the horse story genre. Morpurgo presents both a fine history lesson and an emotional tale.
From the Publisher

"The music, folk inspired, brings depth and resonance, hooking the narrative into a wider perspective, of generations unnamed who have fought and died." —Telegraph
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
This rerelease of an excellent 1982 horse story coincides with the widely promoted Steven Spielberg movie of the same name. There is also an added author's note from 2007. Morpurgo tells a superb animal story about Joey, a red roan conscripted into the British army to act as an army mount and then as a work horse. Told in the voice of the horse, the story is comparable to Black Beauty, but the trials that Joey endures in both the British and German army, the mostly kind and attentive humans the horse meets along the way until he is reunited with his British farm boy, Alfred, also bears a resemblance to Terhune's Lassie Come Home. Joey has no trouble understanding the conversations of his handlers, whether they are English, French or German. He also learns about the horrors of war, the same in any language. Over a million horses were killed in World War I before war became fully mechanized, so Joey is involved in close in fighting, with big guns just feet away from the enemy. He may not understand the conflict for which he has been recruited, but his observations explain to young readers how war is not healthy for living things. His first mounted officer is shot leading a charge. His best friend, a magnificent black named Tranthorn, is worked to death. Joey is saved by the convenient but indeed beautiful reunion with his original owner, Albert, a farm boy turned veterinary aide. For me, the most moving scene is two warring soldiers, in the middle of No Man's Land, flipping a coin to settle ownership and Joey's fate in a totally non-violent means of agreement. With wide movie promotion, this book will be requested immediately. Joey's journey through war to peace is an excellent story with great heart. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Since he was a young colt, Joey has been loved and cared for by Alber, a young English farm boy. At the beginning of Wold War I, Albert's father sells Joey to a captain in the cavalry. The boy is devastated and promises Joey that someday he will find him. Joey experiences army life and the disastrous consequences of a cavalry charge into machine guns. He is captured as a prisoner of war and becomes a hospital cart transport horse for the German army. The he's used by the German soldiers to pull gun carts through the muddy trenches. Joey bolts after his friend Topflight dies. He ends up in no-man's land between the trenches. By a coin toss, he becomes again the property of the English. Joey is taken to a veterinary hospital where he is reunited with Albert. As the soldiers from both sides of the conflict share their thoughts and feelings with Joey, listeners get unique and perceptive views of World War I. John Keating's' different accents are pitch perfect as he draws listeners into the story (Scholastic, 1982) by Michael Morpurgo. An excellent choice for fans of historical fiction.—Samantha Larsen Hastings, Riverton Library, UT

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Michael Morpurgo, former Children's Laureate of Britain, is the author of War Horse, called “Superb" by the New York Times Book Review, and now a major motion picture. His other prize-winning books include Kensuke's Kingdom, Private Peaceful, and The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. Michael lives in Devon, England, with his wife, Clare. Together, they founded the charity Farms for City Children, which gives children from urban areas an opportunity to spend a week working on a farm in the countryside. You can find out more about him and his books at michaelmorpurgo.org.

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War Horse 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1715 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
War Horse is one of my favorite books. The author does an amazing job of telling an exciting story through a young horse's eyes. The tale explains everything exactly as you would expect this young stallion to, and has one of the best endings i have ever read, so simple, yet it gives you a heartwarming feeling that Satisfies the books end. I recommend this book to all animal lovers.
Tashina Myers More than 1 year ago
this book is awsome full of excitment but sadness its the story of a horses life during the war many people who read this will get done and take a deep breath and say man what a good book and read it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wish I had known about this book when I was still teaching 5th/6th grade. It would have been a wonderful addition to my English/Language Arts Horse Unit. My students would have loved it. I can't wait to see the movie!
LittleMissMeat More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books that I have read. If you like war stories and actions this one is definetly for you. Yet it is appropriate for the young readers also. This unique way the story was told through a horse was amazing. I have never read anything like it. The story is complete and you are able to connect with the characters right off the bat. This book will leave you with a new insight of a horse and the feelings they have if you don't already know. Worthy of your time and money.
permawa More than 1 year ago
Story brought tears to my eyes. Any animal lover should enjoy
dizazter More than 1 year ago
This is a great story, however the ebook version is wrought full of grammatical errors and misspelled words. At one point it skips a whole paragraph. Purchase at your own risk.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The best horse book I have read in forever! Really heart warming story! Great for horse lovers, but sad parts!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As someone who has been horse crazy all her life, I just had to read this book. It was a good read. I really felt what the horse felt. I read it in one sitting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love horses and history, and this was an inspirational story told from the horse's own brave perspective. A truly wonderful read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book, it is a must read!!! I enjoyed it a lot, it has a happy ending and only one small sad part!!! AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book ( and movie ) ever! I recomend it to the world! : )
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
War Horse is a great book very detailed and perfect for all those horse lovers out there or anyone! It was very different than the movie but both were great i definately reccomend it for ages 7 and up. Also for all those horse lovers we need the my horse app for nooks! Care for your own horse and more! We NEED it on nook for free!!!! CLICK yes if you agree.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book that is bigger than life itself. Kept me on my toes could not put it down. Loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book tugged at my heart strings.. Very good and easy read. I recommend this for everyone!! I wanted to read before I go see the movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im glad my teacher bought these for us to read together in class.my teacher rules in 5th grade
easondk More than 1 year ago
This is a easy book to glide through in about a day or two. I would suggest taking it on a short road trip and cruising through it along the way if you can be lucky enough to have a driver. The story itself will keep you turning the page, and I thought the perspective of everything coming from the horse was neat. It's definitely a book I would suggest to younger readers if only for an understanding of the terrible environment surrounding WWI. It doesn't conjure up images of endless blood and gore but rather paints a somber mindset - one where neither side understands why the fight goes on without end. All in all, it's well-worth the limited time required to enjoy its delivery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read this book twice already and will read it again. The movie was good but the book is even better. The book is told by Joey, the horse and set in England and France during WW I. Because Joey tells the story we gain an understanding of his emotions, how he feels about Albert, Albert's father, the other horses and other characters in the book. The text is descriptive and some young readers will have difficulty with some of the vocabulary but if one sticks with it, one will not be disappointed. Highly recommend to individuals from ages twelve to adult.
Onedina More than 1 year ago
I was surprised when I started reading that it was narrated through the voice of the horse, Joey. However, I found it charming and refreshing. I just saw the movie and was glad I read the book first. It was much more meaningful and I was able to be more deeply associated with the characters (people and horses) because I read the book. Highly recommend it even if you've already seen the movie. It will surely fill in all the blanks and enrich the story....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 13 and I highly recommend this book to history and horse lovers! It has great imagery and foreshadowing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was amazing with only a few sad parts. The movie was touching and occasionally funny with a few gross parts and one graphic part. The movie added alot of parts that weren' t in the book and changed up alot of details, good movie though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting to read, very different because it is from the point of view of the horse. Believe it or not, I did not realize that I was reading a children's book until I got to the question and answer section at the end - I bought it for $4.99 for my nook: never looked at the name of the publisher, was interested because the movie was in theaters, did wonder why the book was only 110 pages, recommended it to other adults as I was reading it. I was surprised and laughed when I discovered the genre. I still liked the book, and it's story, very much.
SailorJan More than 1 year ago
Excellent book. Quick read but brings war home to you. Recommended for all ages.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. Setting is WW 1. The story is told by Joey, a young horse, about his adventures from the moment he was auctioned off as a young colt. It was fun to read a story told from a horses point of view. A very quick read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. Found it a relaxing and easy read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This a good sample book it gave me a little of the book and what it was going 2 be about and i think that the book is going 2 be better than the movie