From the farms of England as a working horse, to the battlefields of Germany during WWI, Joey, a Thoroughbred horse, talks in his own voice about his life as a war horse.
Horses were invaluable during the war effort. Without horses there was no way to carry guns, ammunition or water for the troops. They were used for cavalry and ambulances to carry the wounded. A war horse surviving this life was rare. But not every War Horse was lucky enough to have an owner like Albert.
Albert is a young teenager who treats Joey like a family member. Due to circumstances beyond his control, Joey’s father must sell him as a war horse to the English cavalry. This is beyond devastating to young Albert and he is determined to eventually find Joey someday. He can’t wait to enlist legally, so when he becomes 16, he lies about his age to find Joey.
Morpurgo writes this story with young adult readers as his audience. It is wartime for a war horse and he provides his readers with appropriate war scenes. Young adults will understand what every adult knows; war is hell. The historical fiction narrated by Joey himself is perfect for children.
Another side of this wonderful story for readers is the knowledge we learn about horses in general. The public may or may not know what Morpurgo brilliantly teaches us. There are many life lessons learned when the reader finishes the book; lessons relating to both people and animals.
I recommend War Horse for all ages.
Book Review by Mary Crocco