War Horse by Michael Morpurgo


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.

41 thoughts on “War Horse by Michael Morpurgo”

  1. This book is amazing so thats why i chose it from my primary school book fair

  2. I loved this book. It was a book I will never forget and the reason why it was so good was because the story was being told by a horse named Joey. The best bit for me was at the end of the book when he finds Albert again! 🙂

  3. I found this book dreay and dull. It was unrealistic and quite a limp and pathetic story line, if you can even call it that.

  4. This book has made me cry and laugh, be happy and sad, this book has something that keeps you in the story and makes you not sleep because of it for several nights. This book is wonderful, fantastic. I can only say that War horse by Micheal Porpurgo narrated by Joey the horse is a book to read. <3

  5. I thout this book was gripping although some parts where a little confusing and boring….

  6. I absolutely LOVED This book because it was so gripping and i couldn’t put the book down! I really can’t believe that some people said that this book was boring, total rubbish! I also loved the film but it was so different from what I imagined it to be like! Still absolutely stunning though! 🙂 😉

  7. This was an awesome book. I loved reading this book. It was so enjoyable. It had different feeling -sad, happy etc. I especially loved it in the end! I think it is worth reading it.

  8. AMAZING BOOK!!! even better as film. not yet seen in theter. how can you say its boaring!? as a equestrian myself i flaming love it!

  9. This book was a teeny bit good but its the most boring book ever. Urgh have to read this rubbish book for homework

  10. I love this book, because it is so exciting! It builds the suspense all the way through and keeps you gripped!

  11. OMG thats pretty cool great reading this book in school learing bout this book LOOL

  12. So i had to write a book report about this book so i cheated a little, i used google to help me find a book review that i could just copy into my exercise book and say i wrote it. However i read a couple of reviews and decided to actually read the book as it seemed like a thrilling read. I bought the book online using my dads credit card (with his permission of course) and waited about 3 weeks before it came. I were hot on my heels as i wanted to finish the book and finally discover what happens in the end. Overall i have to say i absolutely love this book as it tells a story of love, friendship, hope, determination and courage. As a teen myself (14) i think this is a really good book and i would definitely recommend it to another person.

    Anisah x <3

    twitter: @anisahxx

  13. I was amazing..i went and watched it live in London and ive never cried so much In my life. it was so brillalnt I would never forget it. if I could have the chance I would go again x

  14. A good read for young readers. I see a parallel with Black Beauty:- the story narrated by the horse, friendship with Old Chloe compared with friendship with Merrylegs (Black Beauty), friendship with Topthorne compared with friendship with Ginger (Black Beauty) and death of both friends from exhaustion from hard work and bad conditions.

  15. @Hailey Russell u don’t speak to people like that it was there opinion so be quiet and if u don’t i will make u! > (

  16. it is an awesome book and i loved every bit of it. i am only 11 but i still understood every bit of it. thank you michael morpurgo for creating such a wonderful book.

  17. It is an awesome book and I loved every bit of it. I realy love the film it’s so happy and a bit sad because at the end I thought he was going to be dead when he got caught. This is how it went

  18. This book is very expressive and double WOW for me, I really enjoy reading this book at home and also in class. It’s absolutely enjoyable. Once I went to see the film in Cinema and I was very pleased with Michael Morpurgo, I’ve only read the book about twice and then I decided to see the actual film on the pieceful and silent cinema without any talking! 😀
    It’s extremely acceptable and unspoiled.

    So make sure guys you read this book, if you haven’t read it already.
    It’s suitable for everyone under +7

  19. I think it is an amazing book and that anyone who thinks otherwise have something seriously wrong with them
    It is a brilliant book and I think everyone should own a copy of it

  20. ps its for all ages and my school loves reading it even though were 15 years old and yes Darcie it should be 5 stars xx

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