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In a way the story is fairly predictable, but then I was brought up on Black Beauty, and anyone who was moved by Captain's exploits in the Crimean War as told there will find lots of familiar things in Michael Morpugo's book. But there is much more. Joey's story is told from beginning to nearly the end (since he lives happily ever after), but it travels with him through the whole of the Great War, the War to End all Wars. As you see the story from all sides, you realise, if you didn't before, the stupidity of it all, with people very much like each other coming into Joey's life in turn, killing each other with ever more deadly technology, all because of their patriotism, when all they really want to do is have simple lives and look after their homes.
This book needs to be on the 50 books to read before you die list! It's one of my favourite books of all time, and is just fabulous. It's a thin little book and can be read cover to cover (even if you're a slow reader like me!) and is written from the perspective of the horse - that's what makes it so special. A one off. Suggest to all your friends! Make sure you read the book before the film comes out this year. It won't beat the book!
A tremendous book, and it deserves to be up there with Black Beauty. The tale of a horse that becomes part of World War1, and it views the war from both sides. The story is tightly written, the narrative excellent, and the things that happen will live with you long after the book is finished. A climatic scene between enemies is the highlight of the book and should make children (and adults) realise the futility of war. Get the tissues out...this is a wonderful, thought provoking story-with, I hasten to add, a sort of happy ending. Read it yourself, then give it to your children - a wonderful, wonderful book!
This book is about a chestnut stallion called Joey who is sold to the army during the First World War, because his owner’s father runs out of money. This story is set in the countryside of England and Joey is sent to France to fight. It was exciting to read the story from Joey’s point of view. It was sad all the way through until the end when the war is over and the boy buys back his horse and gets married. I think not just horse lovers should read this book. It is a great story for all ages. It is a very exciting story based in a realistic time and place. I think Michael Morpurgo enjoys emotional stories because it made me sad. There is also When the whales came and The Wreck of The ZANZIBAR.
It is a skilful book that will bring the history to life for a younger reader, and yet leaves a clearer vision of life in that period to an older, more wordly reader, due to the pictures painted by the author. And if you haven't read Black Beauty, either at all or for years, do so. There is much in both books that we need to remember and apply to our care of animals and of each other. Set in three European countries where war hits hard in 1914, Morpurgo's book surprisingly puts its focus with a young horse, through whose eyes and mind the reader is familiarized with the atrocities of war as they unfold. While as a literary device this might appear cheap or far-fetched, here it functions in quite a unique way. Whether witness, victim or participant, Joey (the horse) merely undergoes whilst observing without interacting by means of speech the way that humans would. The restraint which the author imposes on his narrative in selecting this point of view just works wonders. The further into the story, the reader (whether adult or youngster) gradually conceives a growing sympathy with the war horse and ends up nearly identifying with his animal companion. Along with Joey, he gets to interact with the people (civilian or military) who temporarily own him and gradually will, of his own account, make a distinction between the ones who approach him fairly or harshly. As he is dragged into the avalanche of warfare, he gets to make sense of the horse's gratitude and emotionality one way, and his pain or distress, another. To cut (not such) a long story short, to say that Mr Morpurgo does perfect credit to whoever gets dragged into the nightmarish abyss of war at any time and any place, is no exaggeration. His understated style only adds to the qualities that characterize the book as it is. Perfection is not of this world, so the word goes, but this one comes ever so close. War horse is a gem. It is a must-read, and not just for young readers. Read and understand why, at times, books are indispensable. This is a magnificent book for adults and children alike. You could say that it is Black Beauty goes to war for it is written in the same vein, I enjoyed a great deal. I only hope that Stephen Spielberg has produced a film that will equal the book. Click here to buy War Horse