War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
An exceptionally poignant story of one horse's experience in the First World War.
In 1914, Joey, a young farm horse, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges towards the enemy, witnessing the horror of the frontline. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey's courage touches the soldiers around him.
Michael Morpurgo is a national treasure, a former Children's Laureate and the author of many book's that are beloved by children, parents and teachers alike. Kensuke's Kingdom, The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips and King of the Cloud Forests are amongst his most read and enjoyed stories but it is for War Horse for which he is currently best known.
In World War I over ten million humans, mainly young men, died. The war also claimed the lives of over six million horses. And it this horrifying period of world history that forms the backdrop for War Horse, a tragic tale that is told from the viewpoint of the horse, Joey. It is a tale that cleverly portrays the ridiculousness of war by showing the horse's complete incomprehension of what was unfolding in the trenches and on the battlefield; the horse is simply unable to comprehend how - or why - anybody or anything would behave in such a violent, unthinking way and be able to commit such horrific acts. War Horse highlights human cruelty and human disdain for both animals and each other whilst also highlighting just how powerful love and courage can be. It is extremely well written, features exemplary character development and is a book that will allow younger readers to understand the horrors their great grandparents were forced faced in order to battle tyranny and retain freedom.
The final say on War Horse should always go, whenever possible to those it has been written for. A glance at the reader reviews below will show you the impact it has had upon them, and how emotional the reading expereince was for them.
"Incredible. Beautiful. Emotionally amazing. I could not live without this book!"
Ella from Hampshire.
"This was the best book I have ever read. Words can't describe how good it was. Just read it."
Jordan from America.
"I thought War Horse was brilliant! It is the most touching book I have ever read, and I would recommend it to anyone, even if they aren't animal lovers!" concurs Megan from Stafford. "This is one of the best books I have ever read and I would recommend it to everyone as it not only touches the hearts of any animal lover, but it also shows you the dreadful conditions of the First World War and the hardships they must have faced."
Grace from England.
"This book was recommended to me by a friend and to put it into a few words... I loved it. I laughed and cried, I love reading." Jessica from Tamworth.
If you are thinking of reading War Horse then have must read through the many reader comments below as they are as insightful and as honest as you could possibly wish for.
Michael Morpurgo has won the Whitbread Award, the Smarties Award, the Circle of Gold Award, the Children's Book Award and has been short-listed for the Carnegie Medal four times. His novels have been adapted for film (My Friend Walter, Why the Whales Came, War Horse) and stage (including, Kensuke's Kingdom for the Polka Theatre and Why the Whales Came for Alibi). Michael received an OBE in December 2006 for his services to literature.
This War Horse book review was written by Floresiensis
Have you read War Horse?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
War Horse reader reviews
Ivan from Russia
I have no words to explain my feeling but it is just fantastic!!!
Ella from England
The story was quite boring and unrealistic. How could a horse write a book? I know a horse didn't actually write it, but I would have liked it better if it was about Joey not in his point of view.
Fatimah from UK
I didn't like it. VERY unbelievable story line. Really plain. Good language. Nothing very 'enticing' Nothing to look forward to. Obvious plot- best friend goes away find them again. Overall the book did not reach the standards it was said to be and described as.
Willie from US
I was reading it in school and was boring.
Ruby from UK
I am reading this book at school but I think it is quite boring and if I had the choice I would not read on, I have not got attached at all.
Jaden from Georgia
I think that War Horse was an amazing book! It had such movment and it is just incredible book! I think that even if you love horses and animals or not, i recomend t! It has just so much movement! Great jub Micheal Morpurgo! I just love that it is based on a horses piont of veiw and the pain and suffering of war... i always wanted to know what it was like and now i know that it just so hard to think that all of the soldiers that are across the world that all they want to do is come home and be with their families lets pray that the get home safely!!! :]
Sunami Singh from England
I am 11 and go to Handsworth Grammar School. I liked reading War Horse, it was very good.
Timothy Hay from Birmingham
This book is very intriguing and it makes you want to read on. It feels like you're also in the book along with Joey. I liked the way the story was told through the horse's perspective and not just what the men thought about the war.
Steph from England
War Horse is a brilliant book or film but it a little bit vigilant but good :) :(
Carly from England
It is an amazing book of one horse's experience.
Himayath from Sri Lanka
Despite a great effort to describe it I really cannot explain how brilliant War Horse is. It is absolutely flawless!
Ellie from England
Amazing book!! So engaging.
Shameema from South Africa
It really touched my heart and made me change my outlook on wars. It contains a variety of emotions and I thoroughly recommend it.
Bob from Hong Kong
I think War Horse is a really nice book.
K from UK
The best book ever. I really loved it.
Meha Mukta from India
The most exciting book I have ever read.
Anthony from UK
The best book I have ever read.
Anthony from Bedford, UK
The best book I have actually ever read in my life and I think that Joey is the coolest horse I have ever seen.
Elz from Australia
I think that this book was very touching but when it got nearer to the end I felt that it lost that perssaz that it had nearer to the beginning.
John from Thailand
Best book ever!
Jaden from Scotland
It was so good it made me cry!
Piotr from Ireland
Very emotional and sad in some parts but I liked it very much.
Tinks from UK
One of the best books I've read, I couldn't put it down.
Emily from UK
It was okay, not very good.
Ella from Australia
Amazing but you killed Topthorn u broke my heart :(
Sacha from England
Sarah from England
It was the best book ever. When joey's rider was killed he ran straight home to his owner who couldn't believe that he had come back such a heart-warming story. Although it was upsetting as well it was a really good book and a really good film.
Cassie from London
It's so touching after you have read the book. Michael Morpurgo described so much in the story but to improve, it needs to be quite longer but other than that; brilliant! My homework in class was to read this book and review and I am glad a read this! When i stopped reading War Horse, my emotions changed quite a bit but to be honest, it was quite boring but it's quite good ;)
Asad from England
This is what you call the bbbbbeeeeeessssssstttttttt! Book in the WORLD!
Amy from England
It is good.
Bob from England
I like this book because it shows you about friendship.
Mark from France
Best book ever.
Chloe from Northern Ireland
The book has become one of my favourites. It is so touching and heart warming x
Tirivashe from Zimbabwe
The book was boring at first, but I think michael did a pretty good job.
Susan from US
I absolutely loved this book. I had a difficult time putting it down! I love how the story was told from Joey's point of view. The relationships he developed with the other characters were both heartwarming and heartbreaking. I highly recommend this book.
Fathimah from England
This book was awesome. I can't believe some people dislike this amazing book.
Sadie from UK
It is an amazing book, it kind of makes you think about all the emotional times that actually happened. It was recommended by a friend and they loved it too. It blows you away and you can't stop reading it. Now I recommend the film which is the same story but with more action!!!!
Benjy04 from England
Amazing, the best book I have ever read.
Ruby from New Zealand
I ABSOULETLY hated it. I didn't get grabbed in or I just didn't engage with it.
Ellis from England
This was a very sad book and it almost made me cry, however it was kinda boring.
Jelena from Serbia
This book is really sad, but also very boring. I wouldn't recommend it but that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it.
Oscar from England
It was a sad but an absolutely amazing book.
Tom from England
This is awesome, it engages me a lot.
Zohrez from Norway
Wow I really loved this book I did not want it to end and when I read it to my mom she started to cry a bit but we reallyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy loved it we did not like it when Topthorn and captin Nicholas dies but I think it was awesome if you have any more books like this let it know.
Pip from Australia
This book was so touching I didn't want to stop reading it but I didn't want to finish the bBook. It is the best book I've read and it shows you how tough times were in WWI for both men and animals and the connections the military had with the horses. Over 6 million horses died in WWI and yet who knows how many men died. It scares me to think that the way people treated horses like Ttopthorn and he was one of the strongest horses there along with Joey. There were good masters and bad masters that just didn't care about anyone and they were as cruel as you can get. It's a bit of a good history lesson. READ THIS FOR SURE.... can't wait to read his other books. GOOD JOB MICHAEL... 100%!
Silvia from Straford-Upon-Avon
At school we read War Horse and we thought it was really, really good.
Jennifer from New Zealand
I read this with my class and I hated it because we all got really lost and only my friend could understand half the words although we are young so I guess you can say that it is recommended to elders.
Sonny from England
The story is quite boring although it has some ups and downs and I got lost a lot.
Jim from England
I hated this book, it was so boring.
Ben from London
It was amazing and I got to read it for class it was really good.
Flora from England
OMG Such a good book, though I only gave 9 because I wish, wish, wish it was longer. Very touching, made me well up a bit... which is rare. Good job Michael, I give you thumbs 200% touching the sky up!
Suleman from United Kigdoms
Just loved this book. My daughter and son are in love with this book.. amazing story line and characters.
Tia from London
It was really boring and odd. I am not saying it's the worst book ever, it's just not my type.
Gowtham from England
Lisha from Australia
I found it very boring and it got no better throughout the book. I would not recommend it.
Erica from UK
Truly touching! The best book so far xx
Kendall from US
I had to read this book for summer reading and well... let's just say it isn't the best book ever. It is really boring in the beginning and after reading the first paragraph, I was ready to go on Sparknote. But by the ending of the story, it was OK, but I still won't say it's one of my favorite books.
Sam from Australia
A book that makes you think and you won't put it down until you have finished.
PJ from Ireland
I found it rather boring.
Allsya from Ireland
It grabs you by the throat and doesn't let you go. I read it as my novel this year - so many deaths in 21 chapters. If you love reading then you would love War Horse.
Adam from Burnley
vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyggggggggggggggggg oooooooooooooooooooooooo oooooooooooooooooooooooooooood!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Catherine from United states
Awesome. I loved it, the best book I have read.
Aiden from South Africa
Bob from UK
Ummmmmm........ kind of confused on lots of parts.
Sophie from Aus
It was so good!
Hanah from UK
Best book ever!
Hannah from England
At first when I started to read this book I found it extremely boring but then when I actually started to read this book it got so interesting. Especially after Topthorn dies. PLS READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
Megan from Hampshire
Read this book thousands of times! I cried, laughed and genuinely felt for the characters. We are reading this in English at the moment and it is absolutely brilliant!
Katie from Norfolk
It was amazing, I cried loads because it was so sad but then I laughed when it was funny. Michael Morpurgo did a good job of putting emotional language in there, he also made it incredibly realistic at points I could see the image he was talking about and I felt that I was there. I'm learning about War Horse in my English class at the moment and its making me sad because I know what's going to happen next! Honestly though if you haven't read it YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK!!!
N/A from United Kingdom
I'm 12. I think this is a really good book, learning it in English. Amazing. 10 stars.
Ramiz from England
It's a interesting book. I think you should read this book. It's the best book I have ever read.
Matthew from England
I'm 12 and found the book AMAZING! Everyone in the world should have a chance to read this book.
Mohamed from London
This book is so amazing, I can read it until I am dead. I cried a little bit. But you have to read it. Thank you Michael Morpurgo.
Jake Smith from Ammanford, Wales
I'm 12 and this book was enjoyable and amazing.
That Creeper from My Yard
This book was fantastic, I kinda want a #2.
Ashley from Michigan, US
This book was amazing! I read it in school and I'm only 12 but I want to buy it so bad! I just can't find it anywhere!
Mia from England
It was an amazing book!!! I couldn't stop reading it! I would take it every where with me! Anyone who hasn't read it yet, READ IT!
a person from who lives in a house
Wow this book is absolutely amazing I really can't put into words how fabulously awesome this really is. Thank you Micheal Morpurgo for writing this book I really think he should write another book about Joey's life later on after the war and if Albert's dad sort's his life out or not?
molly from florida
this book was good but a little slow.
Makenzie from US
I'm only ten and I love this book. I read it within a week! I loved it and give it a 10!!!
Tom from England
It is a great book.
Lol from Was
Best book ever!!!!!!!
aisha ansar from United Kingdom
it is a good book
Olivia from UK
I thought this book was amazing even though it was heartbreaking and emotional! But it is a thrilling and brilliant book!!!
Horses are the best xxx from In a house
I LOVED this book. I thought it was one of his best books so far, it was very heartbreaking at some places but then it just got better and when it did get better it was amazing. I'm only 15 and enjoyed this book. I love animals and especially horses and also I am one of those people that don't read a lot and I read this book within a week because this book was incredible. I would very much so recommend this book, it was by far the best book that I have read by Micheal Morpurgo and the best book that I have read overall by the books that I have read :) !!!!!!! PLEASE READ THIS BOOK !!!!!!!!!!!!! Also if I could rate this book out of 10 I would give it 11 :p
Michael from Uk
I loved it.
Louis from England
Really good book for all ages but I think a bit of fighting so some people will be down hearted but it is amazing book and I have read it 10 times and have seen the move 6 times, so there you have it .
Emily from Calabasas, California
I am 13 years old and I love this book. I have an English tutor and she told me to read this book and I enjoyed it. I am also doing this in English and drama for GCSE and it is such a great book to read. It's like one of the best book I have ever read! :-) I have read it like 10 times.
Carlos from Michigan
Connor from Bristol
An extremely amazing and touching book, recomended to me by my school.
Bobby JR from Where bobby lives... duh
Great book, very moving. Read it 2 times and would happily read it a third. :D
Becky from West Midlands
I found this book boring to start with, but once I got into the book, it was very good. Very moving and I felt a lot of sympathy for Joey and Albert :-( I would recommend this book to 12+ :-)
Harry from Dublin
It is a very good book. I would recommend this book for people 10+. I do not like Ted Naracott. I was sad when Topthorn and Friedrich died but it has a happy ending, when Albert gets Joey back. Iit is an overall very good book.
Jodi from Dublin, Ireland
I love this book. I read it with my class and we read it every Friday. We actually all love it, full of adventure and very serious with lots of action. I recommend it to everyone from 7+.
Conor from Dublin
I loved this book it had a lot of action and emotion. I didn't like the first three chapters because I didn't think there was much going on. But the rest of the chapters were brilliant! My favourite character was Joey because he had a lot of courage and he didn't want to leave Topthorn behind. However I didn't like Albert's Dad because he was selfish. This book shows what it was like for horses and men in the war. I would recommend this to anyone over the age of seven.
Celine from Dublin
Ok. Wow. Brilliant book. I absolutely loved it. Anyone could read it (and I mean anyone) and couldn't resist falling in love with it. I go horse riding and know already horses are good creatures when treated nicely but this just shows any other people who don't believe it. It shows that through anything the bond between Joey and Albert is strong enough to go through war. Read it and you'll understand.
Fatin from Paris, France
This is a one great book! I French but I am in love with his wonderful books that he wrote! I think this is the best book that Michael Morpurgo wrote!
Sophie from United Kingdom
Ashley from Branford
War horse was a great book, movie was also awesome!!!
Jordan from Washington
Best book I've ever read!!! I was crying soooo hard!!! :)
Dean from Norway
Fishboy from Hell
A really good book. I would read it over n over again if I had time.
Michael from Chorley, Lancishire
Best book ever [:
Emily from USA
Best book I've read in 8th grade that really touched me. That includes The Hunger Games series. Truly incredible.
Sam from Canada
Emma from Wales
The most amazing and inspiring book that I have ever read.
Adila from London
I think the book is excellent, it has all the action. I recommened the book to everyone.
Ella from Hampshire (YAY!)
Incredible. Beautiful. Emotionally amazing. I could not live without this book!
Gabriella from Glasgow
I thought the book was very interesting. It is quite different from all the other books that I have read. I would say it is suitable for 10+. Michael Morpurgo is a very inspiring author.
Hanief from England
This book is amazing, it really makes you think.
Sagar from Swieqi, Malta
I read it and I loved the movie as well. After finishing it last year I knew that it would once turn into a movie. It is a fantastic book and it tells about the sufferings in World War 1 a lot. The book is a bit short, and is almost like the movie. I felt sad for the horse, for Joey, for Captain Nicholls, and for every character except of selfish people like Albert's father, who thinks only of himself and sells Joey without even asking Albert once. I am especially sad when Joey reaches No Man's Land. The ending is very good because Joey and Albert reunite. The film does a good job and is worth watching, and especially Michael Morpurgo's fans will love it.
elissa from birmingham
I am 11 years old, and I got the book War Horse for Christmas and I have just finished. I loved it, it made me feel as if I was Joey the horse but I don't like Albert's dad, because he has no sympathy for Joey and then sells him. Before I read this book I didn't think about the war but now I know how important it is. Great book!!! P.S. please write back Michael.
Jordan from America
This was the best book I have ever read. Words can't describe how good it was. Just read it.
Megan from Stafford
I thought War Horse was brilliant! It is the most touching book I have ever read, and I would recommend it to anyone, even if they aren't animal lovers! I enjoyed the book that much that I am now reading it again, and I never read books! I can't wait to go and see it at the cinema and also at the theatre in April! So if your looking for a book you don't want to put down, choose War Horse!
Bill from MI
This book was soo awesome. I continually read it all the time!!!!
Yo Mama from Unicorn Town
It was a great book the only problem was the amount of people that died in it.
Amy from Wales
best book ever
Uzair from Stockton
I thought the book was great. I was writing a review on it, and used this to help me. But this is just awesome. I would recommend it for ages 9+.
Grace from England
This is one of the best books I have ever read and I would recommend it to everyone as it not only touches the hearts of any animal lover, but it also shows you the dreadful conditions of the First World War and the hardships they must have faced.
Jessica from Tamworth
This book was recommended to me by a friend and to put it into a few words... I loved it. I laughed and cried, I love reading and I am glad that Michael Morpurgo has written this book. I am now reading the follow on to this book, called Farm Boy. This book has the most spectacular points of a horses view and it also shows that there is nothing to be scared about horses. I ride myself and love it so I can see where Albert is coming from when he is heart broken when his father sells Joey to the army. I was touched by this. I have my own horse and would hate anybody who did that to any horse whether they needed the money or not. £40 is not enough money for a companion and I would have thought about what I was doing before i did it. I am glad that Albert got Joey back and looked after him on the farm just like he one had before. I was upset when Topthorn died in the middle of the book because Joey was without a friend and an owner when his new owner was killed the same day as Topthorn. Over all I am really grateful that my friend showed me this book in the School Library. Thanks Emma, I love you for it. xxx READ THIS BOOK PEOPLE YOU NEED TO!!!
jasmine from Manchester
i am 13 and i had to read this book for my book report for school, i found the book a beautifully moving story of love and friendship through animals!!!!!! it gave me lots of information about world war!!!! i have recommended this book to all my friends and family and now i recomend this to you!!!!!
Sophia from Cheshire
I absolutley loved this book! I think it is extremely moving! I also loved the sequel to this book, farm boy. Michael Morpurgo is an excellent author and I have read many of his books and not disliked one so far.
Sarah from Cooper
I think the book was very well organised.
Kent from UK
I loved every bit of it.
Julian from Philadelphia
I feel that the book's overall writing as quite mediocre. While I read, I felt that Michael Morpurgo had a thesaurus.com tab open on his computer. But don't get me wrong. I had much trouble putting the book down the second I picked it up. Even though the story was written that well the story itself was excellent which is the reason why there is a play, and soon to be a movie, of the same name. The story is so rich that it would be a crime not to share it in any artistic style. It was very easy to relate to the story because everyone has a love for their pet and would be distraught if it was ever taking away from them. In my mind Morpurgo is a story teller, not a writer, and there is nothing wrong with that. Over all this is a great read and I have recommended it countless times. I can't wait to see what Spielberg is going to go with it. SPOILER ALERT! I did not like the ending whatsoever. It wasn't that Joey didn't die, or that Emilie did, but that it ended on an unusual and unneeded note. Who cares about Albert's wife and her pastries? It was a stupid way of ending the amazing story. I hope the movie doesn't end the same way.
Pablo from Cody, Wy
It is an awesome book! I love it.
Jess from The Moon
A deeply moving book as I love horses and this book explains all about the compassion, partnership and love between the horse and his master. I recommend this because it's a very atmospheric book. Topthorn was a good friend to Joey :D
Daniel Dunn from Manchester UK
I absolutely loved this book, the bond between man and horse is amazing. I've worked with horses most of my life. I'm 10 and I started at 4 so this book is amazing.
Dmitri from Slovina
It's good with lots of adventure!
Ellie from Scarborough
I loved this book as it shows actually how much in the war they relied on horses and if it wasn't for the horses we would all be living under German rule. I loved it and love horses.
Alice from West Yorkshire
I am 14 years old and have worked with horses for 4 years now. I was introduced to War Horse by a friend, who enjoyed the book alot. I bought myself a copy and I simply can't get enough of this book. The bond between man and horse is displayed very well throughout the book. I liked the way that Micheal Morpurgo shows how the war can effect some characters, such as Albert's father, who comes accross as a selfish men who doesn't care about anyone but himself. But when he takes Joey from the stable, he is suddenly softer with him, and he explains that he is selling him for Albert, making him come accross as a completely new character. I have read this book 9 times now, and cried every time. I think this book is an amazingly moving piece, and it is a real adult fantasy. LOVE IT!
Jonah from Ljubljana
In War horse the characters are Joey, Albert, Emily, Emile’s grand papa and Topthorn. Topthorn is grand horse that works for the army and is War horse is a book by Michael Morpurgo that is based upon a young horse named Joey who trains to be a war horse during the first world war. This novel is based upon true friendship between Joey and a young boy named Albert. I n this book the characters are Joey, Albert, Topthorn, Emily and Emily's grand papa. Topthorn is a grand horse that Joey stick's close to throughout the story. Emily and her Grand papa take care of Joey and Topthorn through one of the toughest of times in the war. The themes of war horse are war, sadness and death. There is evidence of war when they were carried off France to fight and in the book many people died such as Emily and Topthorn that results in sadness. I would recommend this book to children 8+ because the context can be hard to understand and to read, but, overall I think War Horse is a great book to read if your into books that will keep you on the edge of your seat. War horse is a book by Michael Morpurgo that is based upon a young horse named Joey who trains to be a war horse during the first world war. This novel is based upon true friendship between Joey and a young boy named Albert. I n this book the characters are Joey, Albert, Topthorn, Emily and Emily's grand papa. Topthorn is a grand horse that Joey stick's close to throughout the story. Emily and her Grand papa take care of Joey and top thorn through one of the toughest of times in the war. The themes of war horse are war, sadness and death. There is evidence of war when they were carried off France to fight and in the book many people died such as Emily and Topthorn that results in sadness. I would recommend this book to children 8+ because the context can be hard to understand and to read, but, overall I think War Horse is a great book to read if your into books that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Brandon from Bude
Amie from Malvern
I found the book quite boring. Wars aren't my thing, but all the other Michael Morpurgo books are a ten out of ten.
Jasper Kent from Brighton, UK
I raised an eyebrow at first at War Horse being a fantasy novel - but given that Joey is more sentient than we believe horses in reality to be, I suppose it is. The source of my confusion is that while I like the book, I love (which is to say worship) the play - hopefully will be seeing it for the third time later this year. And in the play, there being no narrator, Joey and the other horses in respect of their sentience are appear just like any other horse. Of course, if we want to imagine a supernatural element to them, we may. And then the play itself becomes a fantasy story too. I look forward to (and fear) what the film will do with the story.
Phoebe Drysdale from Scotland
I am 12 years old and I live in Scotland. I have had horses since I was four and have always loved riding. My mum introduced me to War Horse three years ago and I have read it four times! I just can't get enough of it and I cry every time I read it. I really sympathised with Albert, I think he is a very strong character and I really respected the way he looked after his horses. I didn't sympathise with Alberts dad, this is because I thought he was a careless man who only thinks about himself. This all changes in the end of the book. I think Michael Morpurgo is an amazing author and he inspires me into writig with all his amazing stories. This book has changed the way I thought about the war and it would be great if any more young readers would like to read it. Thanks.
8.5/10 from 137 reviews
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