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4.7 out of 5 stars
1,365
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 4 October 2004
Set in three European countries where war hits hard in 1914, Morpurgo's book surprisingly puts its focus with a young horse, through whose eyes and mind the reader is familiarized with the atrocities of war as they unfold. While as a literary device this might appear cheap or far-fetched, here it functions in quite a unique way.
Whether witness, victim or participant, Joey (the horse) merely undergoes whilst observing without interacting by means of speech the way that humans would.
The restraint which the author imposes on his narrative in selecting this point of view just works wonders. The further into the story, the reader (whether adult or youngster) gradually conceives a growing sympathy with the war horse and ends up nearly identifying with his animal companion.
Along with Joey, he gets to interact with the people (civilian or military) who temporarily own him and gradually will, of his own account, make a distinction between the ones who approach him fairly or harshly. As he is dragged into the avalanche of warfare, he gets to make sense of the horse's gratitude and emotionality one way, and his pain or distress, another.
To cut (not such) a long story short, to say that Mr Morpurgo does perfect credit to whoever gets dragged into the nightmarish abyss of war at any time and any place, is no exaggeration. His understated style only adds to the qualities that characterize the book as it is.
Perfection is not of this world, so the word goes, but this one comes ever so close.
War horse is a gem. It is a must-read, and not just for young readers.
Read and understand why, at times, books are indispensable.
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on 4 October 1999
A tremendous book, and it deserves to be up there with Black Beauty. The tale of a horse that becomes part of World War1, and it views the war from both sides. The story is tightly written, the narrative excellent, and the things that happen will live with you long after the book is finished. A climatic scene between enemies is the highlight of the book and should make children (and adults) realise the futility of war. Get the tissues out...this is a wonderful, thought provoking story-with,I hasten to add, a sort of happy ending. Read it yourself, then give it to your children - a wonderful, wonderful book!
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on 17 September 2004
I read this book when I was about ten, it was amazing, totally absorbing, I got to the major war scene when I was in quiet reading at school, and cried. Thirteen years later, I have never forgotten this book, it's wonderful, and the author is great and really knows how to capture a reader.
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on 14 July 2009
A brilliant book, very poignant. I bought it after seeing the west end play based on the book -which I would also highly recommend. When I had finished the book I passed it onto my 9 year old great nephew who also read it non-stop and thoroughly enjoyed it though he sad it was rather sad. Definitely appeals to all age groups! An easy read but a good one
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on 13 September 2009
I love it!,it's the best book I've ever read! It's sad good,exciting,and touching.
I'd recomend it to people who love adventure and who love animals. Charlotte age 8
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on 22 July 2006
What a fantastic brilliant book, it deserves more than 5 stars beleive me! I read this book in the school Libarary when I was approx 13years old and never really forgotten about it since. My daughter is having terrible trouble with her reading at school so the teachers asked me to do some more home learning with her. I instantly thought of this book I read from 20years ago and bought it off amazon. I arrived this morning and as soon as I started reading it, I couldnt put it down. Ive spent the whole morning and even now 2 hours after I completed the book am I still in tears!! A combinantion of a fantastic storyline, sadness and happiness - I am going to treasure this book for the rest of my life and ensure my children, grandchildren & great grandchildren read this!!!!!
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on 16 December 2005
This is the classic story of Joey a beautiful and courageous red bay with a white cross on his forehead. Joey is bought by Albert's father. Albert falls in love with him and their friendship is a lasting one. However Albert's father needs money and sells Joey to the Army. Joey goes off to the horrors of the First World War. He meets amazing people, Captain Nicholls, Emilie, Mad Old Friedrich and more amazing horses, including his faithful friend Topthorn. Although Joey suffers much ultimately it is a story of hope.
The illustrations set off this special edition perfectly. It is a beautiful story destined to be a great childrens classic.
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on 20 April 2006
Not since Black Beauty has there been a book like this one. War Horse also tells the plight of the soliders, both German and English and the horrors that they went through. It made me cry but the ending made me smile as well. I think everyone should read it and Anna Sewell would have been proud of it!
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on 4 March 2009
This book is my second favourite book ever (the only book better than it for me is Michael Morpurgo's award winning Private Peacful). This book is good for me because it's about a boy called Harry who steals a chimpanzee called Ocky. He keeps him in a abandoned bombsite next to his house, but when his step father and the police find out they are soon on the run.
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on 27 June 2000
This book is very good because the boy, Harry is brave enough to run away from home with a chimpanzee called Ocky in the 2nd World War.One of our favorite parts is when they meet the gypsy girl who keeps hedgehogs in a World War 2 tank.We think this book is suitable for 8-12 year olds.
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