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4.3 out of 5 stars213
4.3 out of 5 stars
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91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2002
This is a beautifully illustrated book by Michael Foreman,which captures life on a rural Devon farm between the wars.It features Joey,an extraordinary horse,who is the inspiration for Morpurgo's book 'War Horse'.Morpurgo once again deals with relationships between the young and the old, this time the grandson helps the grandfather to read and write and in return the old man retells stories of his youth. These he writes down for his grandson to take with him on his travels.The main story is about a ploughing match and how modern methods are not always the best!This is a wonderful book for young and old,some who may actually recognize the farming advertisements of yesteryear.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 5 January 2013
I loved war horse an this book was no different i don't agree with other comments that it was repetitive to war horse at all, was a little on the short side which is why I gave it a 4 , not sure the price is too justified either I read this in an hour. But a good read all the same!
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2011
Having recently read and loved War Horse, I was then lucky enough to see the stage production in London. Finding there that there was a sequel - Farm Boy - to War Horse, I bought it soon afterwards.

This is a shorter tale than the first book. While it doesn't carry the emotional punch of War Horse, it is nonetheless a charming and well-written story of the relationship between the narrator and his grandfather. Through them we find out what happened to Joey, the horse who went to war and against all odds, returned safely with his owner. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout, and I would recommend it highly as an excellent read.

Ben Kane, author of Hannibal: Enemy of Rome.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2013
This is a most attractive book and to enjoy it to maximum effect, it is essential that the reader purchases the version that is illustrated by Michael Foreman as it is absolutely superb. Although this book is best known as being the sequel to the phenomenally successful War Horse it was a long wait as it took fifteen years (1982-1997) before it appeared. The book is a gentle and moving account of life after the Great War in the area around Iddesleigh in Devon where the author lives.
However the illustrated version is more Foreman than Morpurgo as the artist has created another masterpiece but this time he is only responsible for the illustrations in the style of his wonderful books War Boy, War Game and After The War Was Over. This is a book that should be on all primary school reading lists and although readers hoping for a book that is similar to War Horse may be disappointed as this the story of a Farm Horse and not one that "gives a marvellous horse's eye view of the 1914-18 holocaust" which was written by a critic in the TES. However, there is a moving passage in Farm Boy when Grandpa's father dies which is almost certainly based on the real life death of Sean Rafferty, a poet who lived near Michael Morpurgo, and so art imitated life and the farming seasons continue and the last years of an equine survivor of WW1 are related in the author's inimitable moving, engrossing and sparse style.
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51 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2005
This story takes place over a relatively short amount of time and yet spans three generations. Michael Morpurgo gives us two contrasting first person narratives that illustrate the relationship between a grandson and his grandfather. The main narrative is that of the grandson, which is very much based in reality. On the other hand grandpa's story is what I would call a tale because it concentrates on incident rather than character and is closer to the oral tradition in terms of the use of dialect. This narrative is woven into the other. The distance between the two narratives is through time; however, they are very close due to the setting. Morpurgo uses several motifs such as the ideals of now and then and lost tradition. The lead motifs are an old Fordson Tractor and a horse called Joey.
Joey has his own story which takes part in World War I, however in this story it is Grandpa who is central. The opening of the book introduces us to the grandson and the old green Fordson tractor which form part of his daydreams. Although there is no apparent link at first, the tractor is also an integral part of the story; a story that unfolds when the old man takes his grandson into his confidence and discloses his secret (he can not read). After being taught to read by his grandson, Grandpa writes him a story about how the tractor was won in a ploughing race between it and his fathers horses (Joey and Zoey).
Michael Foreman brings the settings alive with his detailed water colour illustrations which are printed in black and white (In my edition). The primary setting for the book is the family farm in rural Devon. However, through Grandpa's reminiscing we also see a glimpse of World War I. The farm represents the families history and is the element of the story that gives you the atmosphere of tradition and change. In the present day setting it appears that the farming tradition is going to be lost and this is also the case in the setting of grandpa's tale. Here I think Morpurgo is trying to paint an optimistic outlook for the lifestyles of the past by illustrating that change is not always bad. In the present the farm's future lays with the grandson because his father chose a different career. In grandpa's story it was technology that apparently threatened their way of life.
At the centre of this book is the relationship between the two main characters. Morpurgo illustrates this well through a balance of power; grandpa obviously has a lot of experience but it is his grandson that gives him the opportunity to write it down. In essence he learns how to occupy his mind for when he retires and in this respect it is a substantial gift. The story concludes with the grandson telling the reader that he as decided to become a farmer having studied engineering. He fixes the tractor to bring us full circle with a daydream becoming reality.
This book is like a bowl of hot chicken soup on a cold winter's day. You can almost hear the voice of your own granddad as your reading. When I had finished the book I could not help thinking that I do not talked to my granddad as often as I would like. It also tells us a lot about a lost oral tradition because it lends itself to being read aloud. After reading this book I went out and bought War Horse (Joey's story).
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45 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on 12 January 2008
Who are the main characters? Who is your favourite character and why?
Grandpa, his grandson, Joey and Zoey the horses, Mum and Dad

What is the basic plot of the book and how does it develop?
The plot of the story is that the boy in the story goes to stay at his grandfathers house just for the holidays but actually ends up staying for a couple of months to teach his grandpa to read and write. He helped with the farm work and he really enjoyed the stay.

How would you describe the atmosphere of the book?
It is a powerful story of family life, changing times, a competition between an old green tractor
and a powerful plough horse named Joey that will never be forgotten.

What was the most exciting moment in the book?
Well it is very exciting when the grandpa has to take over from his father in a bet.

What were the best and worst things about this book?
I think it was all good especially because it was like a diary entry. One bad thing is that it doesn't mention the name of the boy in the story.

Did this book change the way you thought or felt about anything?
Well know I realise that farmers have a reasonably good life because before I though that they have a very difficult and hard life.

Who do you think would like this book?
I think that children from 7 - 11 would enjoy reading this book.
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on 25 November 2013
This beautiful and fabulous book is called 'Farm Boy'. The author is called Michael Morpurgo and is published by Harper Collins.
Michael Morpurgo is a famous author who writes stories about the countryside. He likes to write his stories about the relationships between humans and animals. He used to be a school teacher and realised he was good at writing stories and so decided to do this for a new job.
It begins with a grandson finding out about Grandfather's past. He promises his grandfather to teach him to read and write. Grandpa in return tells the grandson all about his life many years ago. He writes a story of his own for his grandson to read. This story is about two special horses called Joey and Zoey and their owner Corporal. His story tells us about Corporal, his father, who takes part in a race with a man called Harry Medlicott. But who wins?
My favourite part of the story is when Harry Medlicott and his tractor fell into the ditch because I really wanted Corporal to win the race and this meant he had a chance.
I think lots of different age groups will enjoy this book because it is a nice story and everyone would love to read it. I liked the way Michael Morpurgo set out the writing differently for each character. The pictures inside are really detailed.
I would recommend this book because it is a lovely story about a farm boy and his grandpa.
Overall, I love this book. It is fantastic and it makes me laugh. I think you will enjoy it too.

By Red 3
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on 17 August 2012
I finished War Horse earlier in the week and although I wouldn't say it was fantastic I did enjoy it and so when I saw there was a sequel I decided I should read that too. So I requested this from the library and it came in pretty quickly, when I got it I was surprised by how small it was, just 110 pages and half of those were covered in illustrations. Not much of a story then!
This literally took me 20 minutes to read it was so quick and I have to say I was very disappointed. This isn't really a sequel at all, it doesn't really follow on from the first book at all, but starts with Albert's (Joeys first young owner) great great grandson going to visit his grandfather. Whilst there his grandfather recounts tales of his father (Albert) and his Grandad and of course Joey (the War Horse)
It's a rather pointless read to be honest. The grandfather talks about life as a Farmer and how much he loves it, then recounts a story of when Joey and Zoey (the two horses) were used in a ploughing challenge against a neighbor who had one of the first tractors. Whilst it was a sweet little story and clearly had it's morals, there wasn't any real point to it. Considering how much we read about Joey learning to plough in book 1 and returning to be a Farm Horse at the end of the book I could have imagined that myself.
I was sorely let down by this book. It could easily be put in the back of War Horse as a 'Bonus Short Story'. I certainly wouldn't pay full book price just to get this. If you loved the world of War Horse so much then this is a little added extra, and could be worth 20 minutes of your time, but borrow it from the library!
I'm sorry Morpurgo, but this really let the story down!
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on 20 July 2012
Although marketed as a sequel to War Horse this story doesn't really follow on from that book in a linear fashion. We do see Joey again but he appears in just one episode in the lives of the grown up Albert and his young son. It focuses more on the later lives of Albert's son and great-grandson. As a consequence you don't need to have read War Horse first to read this one, although if you have read it, it's nice to briefly re-visit the characters.

This is a far gentler, less harrowing story than War Horse, though also correspondingly more lightweight. I am not sure exactly what age group it is set at, as the shortness of the book and the fact it has numerous illustrations point to a younger reader, but many of the characters are adult, and though it is written in a simplistic style it is appealing to the adult reader. In fact with its slow pace and gentle plot it may even be more suited to older readers than youngsters.

For me, the best part of the book is the historical-set story of the ploughing match (in which we see Joey once more). This really reminds me of some of the adult stories of Roald Dahl which are often set in the countryside and deal with bets and wagers, although the characters are not quite as detailed and it lacks the `twist' quality - and darkness - of Dahl's works. However, despite being a gentle story it does keep you hooked as you really want to find out how - or indeed if - the team of horses can somehow beat the tractor.

The outer story is slightly weaker, though it does paint a very good portrait of the old man and the relationship between him and his grandson. The narrator himself is perhaps not used as much as he could be and feels slightly peripheral to the story (this is exacerbated by the fact he is not even given a name), although he does get tied into it neatly at the end. I feel this section may lose the interest of some of the younger readers, as it is very slow paced.

The horse content is far less than in War Horse; and is mainly concentrated in the historical section of the book. Unlike War Horse none of the story is narrated by Joey, thus he comes across as a far less detailed character. The emphasis is more on the relationship of the humans with each other and with the farming life, of which horses were an integral part (and it does this extremely well), rather than on the more specific relationship of human and horses as in the prequel.

A good and interesting read but not in the same mould as War Horse.
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on 3 April 2013
This is the sequel to War Horse, but you don't need to have read War Horse in order to enjoy it. The narrator (a teenager, by the sound of it) takes a keen interest in his Grandpa's farm, and is drawn especially to the old Fordson tractor that lies in the barn. Grandpa is quite a grumpy old man, but nevertheless a bond forms between the two.

The narrator loves to hear Grandpa talk about the past, and hears the story of how his great-grandfather went to war with a horse who used to work on the farm (which I assume is the tale recounted in War Horse, which I haven't read).

As they draw closer, Grandpa reveals his shameful secret - he never learned to read or write; he asks the narrator to teach him before he leaves Britain for Australia. This the boy does, and as he leaves the country, Grandpa gives him a story he has written. This story forms the meat of the book, and ties the farm, his Grandpa, and Fordson tractor and the horse into one short, exciting story.

This is certainly a short book - just over 100 pages, including a lot of pictures and with wide-spaced type, but my 10-year-old daughter and I really enjoyed it. She can get bored if stories move too slowly, but this one zips along, and it has a nice, rounded ending that is very satisfying.
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