War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

 Summary ~ War Horse ~ 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?

War Horse is the story of Joey and his master Albert.  They meet on Albert’s family’s farm when his father buys Joey at an auction.  Joey tells his story like other literary horses before him, most well known is Black Beauty.  Joey’s a wonderful spirit and narrator who finds himself sold into the British Calvary in WWI.  A scary time for any soldier, he is faced with devastating conditions, heartbreak and danger.

War Horse was published in 1982 and is a young adult novel.  There was definitely a hallow feeling to the story.  In my opinion, when compared to young adult novels such as The Book Thief (one of my all time favorite books!) and The Boy In The Striped Pajamas which both take place during WWII, War Horse is a very light read.  Yes it covers the difficult topic of war but it is an easier read by far.  Easier on the mind.

I had to read War Horse because every time I saw the trailer in the theatre I found myself crying uncontrollably.  I had to find out what happened in the story so that I would hopefully stop crying but I discovered this morning that even though I know that all ends well, that movie horse makes me weep like a little girl.  Hubby says I am not allowed to see the movie. 

I’m glad I know the story though and enjoyed Joey’s voice and liked the story that Michael Morpurgo set him in.  I would recommend War Horse for advanced middle school aged readers and with the film coming out December 23rd it would be a great opportunity to read the book before going to the theatre.  If you are lucky enough (and I have my fingers crossed that I will be) War Horse has also been adapted for the stage.  It is a five time Tony Award winning play in New York City brought over from London.  The most incredible attraction to the play is the fact that the horses of the story are life-size puppets handled by the most amazing puppeteer.  The visual impact of these puppets is breathtaking!

{Rating 3.75 out of 5}