From 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 Topthorn 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Like Morpurgo's Private Peaceful
(2004), this searing World War I novel reveals the unspeakable slaughter of soldiers on all sides fighting against people who are just like them. The story is told by an English farm horse, Joey, and, as in Cynthia Kadahota's Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam
(2007), the first-person narrative blends the animal's physical experience with what men say. On the farm, Joey has close ties to Albert, who is too young to join up when his dad first sells Joey to the army. Charging into battle under machine-gun fire, Joey is captured by the Germans, who train him to haul ambulances and guns. His reunion with Albert in battle is sentimental and contrived, but the viewpoint brings close the fury of the thundering guns, the confusion, and the kindness of enemies who come together in No Man's Land to save the wounded horse. Joey's ability to understand the language wherever he is--England, France, Germany--reinforces the novel's antiwar message, and the terse details speak eloquently about peace. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved