Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: History, non-fiction
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5

2014 will mark one hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War. To mark the date, this beautiful anthology will collect favourite extracts, images and poems from some of the UK’s leading cultural, political and literary figures.
     Poems, short stories, personal letters, newspaper articles, scripts, photographs and paintings are just some of the elements of this astonishing collection, with cover and artwork by renowned illustrator, Ian Beck. Among the many contributors are: Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, Sir Andrew Motion, Miranda Hart, Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Horowitz, Eoin Colfer, Antony Beevor, Emma Thompson, David Almond, Dr Rowan Williams, Richard Curtis, Joanna Lumley, Raymond Briggs, Shami Chakrabarti and Sir Tony Robinson.

I received this book from Netgalley to provide an honest review.

When I saw this book was available on Netgalley, I was excited and desperately wanted to read it. I have really enjoyed Michael Morpurgo books, and I love history books, so to put the two together did excite me! However, this book is not actually written by Morpurgo, it is edited by him, but it is a great read.

This book is aimed at children and it looks back at World War One. This is a collection of poems, stories, memories and pictures from the Great War. They are incidents and people who have influenced well known celebrities today. It is an intimate view of what was an awful time.

I thought this book was put together so well. It is engaging and honest, yet it wasn’t scary or horrific, as it could well have been. The book is sensitively produced and I think children will gain so much from it. I couldn’t put it down, I was drawn in to these stories, these moments in one person’s life.

My only complaint about this book is that it isn’t long enough! I know this is for children so needs to be short, but I think a longer novel for adults should be released too! This is a great read and an excellent glance into history. I am rating it 4 out of 5 because it is well edited, engaging, and a sensitive and different view of the Great War.

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I received this book from Netgalley to provide an honest review.

I like Michael Morpurgo and I like history, so when I saw the two combined, I was quite excited. However, this book isn’t written by Morpurgo, it is edited by him. This is a collection of memories and reflections from celebrities on World War One, as the Great War began 100 years ago. I did really enjoy this read. It was a fascinating look back at the war, and well worth reading.

Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: History, non-fiction
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5

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The seventh book I have read in 2014 is: Michael Morpurgo’s The White Horse of Zennor. I have read a few Morpurgo books now, including War Horse, and have enjoyed them. This book is no different. I wasn’t sure I would like this book as it was short – only 150 pages, and consisted of short stories. I don’t usually like short stories, I find them hard to engage with however this was not the case with this book. It is possible that I found these easier because they are children’s stories but whatever the reason, this was a book I really enjoyed. I liked all the stories and how they were linked together at the end. It only took me a day to read this book and I found myself wanting to keep picking the book up. This was a short, fun, good read.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Children’s fiction, short stories
Published: 1985
Rating: 4 out of 5

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Addition: Paperback, borrowed

Genre: Young adult, history

Rating: 4 out of 5


Joey is a warhorse, but he wasn’t always. Once, he was a farm horse and a gentle boy named Albert was his master. Then World War I came storming through and everything changed. Albert’s father sells Joey to the army where the beautiful, red-bay horse is trained to charge the enemy, drag heavy artillery, and carry wounded soldiers not much older than Albert off of battlefields. Amongst the clamoring of guns and slogging through the cold mud, Joey wonders if the war will ever end. And if it does, will he ever find Albert again?

This is the first book by Michael Morpurgo that I have read. Ladies I work with have seen this at the theatre and loved it, and I thought before I watch the film I will read the book. I have to say, I don’t like horses – they scare me a little bit – but I did enjoy this book, despite that.

The story is narrated by the horse, Joey – which I wasn’t expecting. He tells the reader of his experience at the farm where he is raised by Albert, his experience in France during the war and of the friendships he makes along the way. He sees some awful things in France, a fair amount of death and hurt, but what shines through this book is love – he has people care for him and he develops lovely friendships with many people in the book. He has Albert, the boy who raised him and trained him on the farm; Topthorne, a fellow horse in war with him and Emilie, a little French girl who looks after both him and Topthorne whilst they are camped at her grandfather’s farm. Friendship is the key factor in this book, and it can clearly be seen throughout the book.

This wasn’t a difficult read as it is aimed for young teenagers. The language is simple and it is not a long book – only 182 pages. That said, I did enjoy it and wanted to know what was going happen. This is a good read – it has everything you would want in a book – love, friendship, adventure and gripping story. I don’t think Morpurgo hides the horrors of war. The quote on the back of the book is:

” I saw the grey soldiers ahead of us raise their rifles and heard the death rattle of a machine gun…”

This book does have death and hurt in it, and the effect and reason of war is considered by soldiers and civilians alike. I know this book is read in school and I think the chance to look at war and consider the effects of it is important.

There were some aspects of the books that amused me. I did chuckle about the fact that not only Joey understood English, he also understood German! What a clever horse! Just the fact the story was narrated by the horse entertained me as well!

There were some parts of the story that I didn’t believe. The fact Joey turns up in no-mans land and a German and a Welshman walk out to resolve who will take him I struggled to believe; and Albert finding Joey in France during the war also seemed unrealistic – however, both did make for good reading.

This was an enjoyable and quick read. This is a lovely story of friendship, which a hint of adventure. I’m looking forward to seeing what this is like as film. This book is well worth reading. The good outweighs the bad and I recommend this book.

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