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4.4 out of 5 stars
237
4.4 out of 5 stars
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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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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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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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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 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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on 1 May 2012
My 8-year old daughter and I read "War Horse" earlier this year and I thought we would enjoy reading the sequel. Although the story is interesting enough, we found ourselves irritated by having to read the recap of the original story, clearly inserted for people who had not read "War Horse" in order to make this a stand-alone story. That would have been acceptable had there not been changes made retrospectively to the original story, so we found ourselves saying 'but that's not what happened in the first story'. I am disappointed that neither the author nor his editor would have considered that readers might read the stories consecutively and therefore notice these discrepancies.
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on 9 June 2012
I think some people might be under the misconception that this story was 'rushed out' to follow the success of War Horse and are mistakenly judging it as such. The story was originally published in 1997, but I have to agree the re-print might have been as a result of the stage production and film of the earlier (1982) book. However, it is a nice sequel. Morpurgo has a lovely easy-reading style and this story is gentle but descriptive of an earlier era with the turmoil of the WW1 behind them, the change of living as a result of the conflict with a narrative of very rural, traditional community. Wholly a delight.
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on 4 January 2014
As the follow-up to War Horse, my expectations were very high. However, they were shattered with this book, full of beautiful illustrations, clear text, and a memorable story. This is one of those books, that you can read over and over again, and still get your heart warmed. One of the best books ever written!
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on 10 February 2012
Having seen War Horse on both stage and film and then discovered a sequel I was expecting something more. It was thinner than I expected to start with and illustrated with B&W Michael Foreman illustrations which help to add some atmosphere as well as pad it out a bit. I think it's confusing because it mentions about 4 generations of the same family and flits between them, so you're never quite sure which ones are which, but if you remember the Corporal is Joey's owner, it helps. Another horse has appeared - Zoey, and then it's really a rehash of a similar incident in War Horse, proving that the two horses had a place in changing farming practices, when the Corporal challenges Harry Medlicott to a ploughing contest against his new tractor. Needless to say Joey & Zoey win. Also incorporates a little about changing farming methods and the Corporal not being able to read and write and most of this is told through a story written by the Corporal to his grandson or face to face.
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on 29 August 2012
I Bought this for my son, aged 10.
He'd read one of his books at school and enjoyed it so much, we decided to look for any others.
The author is very good at writting for children. He manages to keep kids engaged and this story was quite exciting. It was written like it could have been true, not sure if it was or not. It was fun to read and not too long, so held Peter's interest throughout. We read it in a few days, a little bit each night. We would definatley get more books by this author.
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