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War Horse Hardcover – April 1, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 797 customer reviews

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Hardcover, April 1, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

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. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

From Booklist

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 Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: AWARDS: Bluestem Book Awards 2013
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; Reissue edition (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439796636
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439796637
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (797 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #584,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"War Horse" is a story of courage and endurance by horse and man, conveyed through the destruction that is war. Told from the viewpoint of the horse, the story can draw in the most reluctant reader, as children often feel more empathy for animals than people. Because of descriptions of grueling labor and unsound working conditions for the horses, the book is best directed toward fourth grade and up.

Joey, a gorgeous bay with four white stocking legs and a white cross on his forehead, is the War Horse. Albert is his 15-year-old human who trains and loves him. When his father sells the horse to the cavalry for service in World War I, Albert swears to join when he is old enough and find Joey.

The insanity of matching a cavalry of horses and riders with sabers against soldiers with rifles and machine guns has to be one of the most insane moments in war history!! One-fourth of the horses are killed in the first battle. All but two die in the next battle this cavalry faces. Joey and his equal, Topthorn, a huge black Arabian, survive, only to be taken as prisoners by the Germans.

What Joey and Topthorn face as part of the team to pull the hospital cart to the battle front over and over is made right by kind treatment their German masters give to their wounds and injuries, and treat their fatigue at the end of day. Joey's worse experience comes when he and Topthorn and others must pull the artillery. Because these soldiers are dead tired themselves and also starving, they are not as attentive to the horses.

The most horrifying scene occurs when Joey is totally alone and runs and runs from the sound of cannons until he is trapped in No Man's Land, a barren area between the French and English on one side and the Germans on the other.
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Format: Hardcover
In my opinion, War Horse is one of the best books I've ever read. I read it in Dutch, named `Oorlogspaard'. (I'm Dutch, sorry for grammatical mistakes). When I began to read it, I first thought it was `just' a story about a horse. How sweet. But when I got further, I saw it's kind of historical too. And that's the reason I like it so much; the whole story could be true. Other books about horses are mostly all the same; it's about a young girl (or boy) and a horse and it always has a happy end.
This book is different. It shows the first world war from an other point of view: a horse. The horse (Joey) doesn't understand that much about the war and wants to get out of it as fast as he can. He stays friendly, although the soldiers let him work very hard. War Horse is my favourite book and I think that many people would like it; it's not a story for horse-lovers only, you know.
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Format: Hardcover
In London on September 17, 2009, I saw the sensational and deeply moving hit play "War Horse" which was adapted from Michael Morpurgo's novel. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had in the theater, an epic theater happening, yet a drama with a very moving intimate family core story. Huge seven foot horse puppets had been constructed. They are operated by two people inside the body and one outside operating the head actions. They move exactly like real horses, sound like real horses, and very early in the play audience members come to believe in them as real horses.
The play is performed on a thrust stage with the audience flanking three sides. At various times a puppet goose on wheels delights the audience, a huge menacing tank rolls across the stage, and birds fly on tall poles. There are up to six horse puppets that appear as part of the cavalry. Sound, light, and music coalesce to create a total theater experience.
"War Horse," (1982) the novel upon which the play is based is told in the first person by the horse himself, a device that was used in "Black Beauty." Considerable changes were made in plot and dialogue to turn the novel into a theater piece. The story is a very touching one about a boy, Albert, who finds that his father, in one of his drunken bouts, has bought a colt at auction. Albert develops a deep love for the horse and raises him with great tenderness. The book starts in Devon, England before the start of World War I. The father forces Albert to train Joey to be a plough horse; again the father in a drunken state had made a bet that Joey could be a plough horse in a week.
When the war in Europe envelops England, Albert's father sells the horse to the army which needs cavalry horses.
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Format: Hardcover
With the upcoming film and all the great reviews here, I decided to get a copy for myself. I'm not a stranger to reading children's books, though I must admit that I generally prefer books for a somewhat older age group. War Horse looks to be for kids about ten, though it could be enjoyed by older children as well.

It's a short book, it took me somewhat over an hour to read, though I'm a quick reader.

But my problem with the book isn't it's length, but it's somewhat even use of emotions. The story never thrilled me, it never brought tears to my eyes, it never caused any strong emotion in me. I should have been in tears as our hero loses a friend, or when we found out that he's deathly ill. I should have been excited and happy at the ending. I should have felt some strong emotion somewhere. But I didn't.

It also suffers in lack of detail and the glossing over of events. Being as short as it is, it can't be expected to go into detail, but that's part of what can make a great book great.

Don't get me wrong. It's not a bad book at all. But I don't believe it holds up well for adults. I'm glad I read the book, and if you like having read the book prior to seeing a film, I encourage it. Just don't go in with high expectations.

Again, yes, I understand this is a children's book, and as a children's book it may be a great book. But with the number of reviews out there implying that it's a great book for adults as well I thought another voice was worthwhile.
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