In 1914, Joey, a young farm horse, is sold to the army, and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges towards the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. The book is told from the horse's point of view, emmersing the reader in the character's feelings and allowing a powerful insight into the lives of horses in wartime. Will Joey remain in France or return to his beloved Albert, the boy who first cared for him on a farm in England?
It was really good, but it was also sad. (Via, aged 12)
Excellent read, but quite sad; I really enjoyed it.
‘War Horse’ by Michael Morpurgo.
‘War Horse’ is a powerful story written from the horse’s (Joey’s) point of view during World War I. Joey was bought at auction by the father of a young child called Albert. Albert cares for and dearly loves his horse whilst Joey loves Albert for the care and kindness he has given him. Then comes the news that War has broken, the army need horses and Joey has been sold and shipped to France. Albert, too young to sign up to fight, vows that one day he will find his horse and bring him home.
The story embraces many themes such as friendship, suffering, courage, loyalty, the human-animal bond, loss, grief, bravery, survival and anger. That is a seemingly long list, however I have not named all the themes that are included in this extraordinary tale.
A key concept I believe to be discussed in the book is the identification of a horses’ basic freedoms such as; the freedom from thirst and hunger, freedom from worry, freedom from pain and disease, freedom from fear and the freedom to express normal behaviour (like playing). Those freedoms are values that we hold most dear and possibly don’t realise until during wartime.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story, and as a future teacher, I plan to use this book with my Year 5 and 6 classes.
- Reading Age: 11+
- Reading Aloud Age: 10+
Some soldiers are wounded, but it is not described.
If you like this you might like
- Other books by Michael Morpurgo.