Review Blog

Dec 12 2013

War horse by Michael Morpurgo

cover image

Illustrated by Rae Smith. Egmont, 2013. ISBN 9781405267960.
Highly recommended for upper primary and older, for art and drama students too. What an amazingly beautifully illustrated version of a captivating and heart-rending story of WW1, the trenches of France, the Belgian countryside and Albert's home in Iddesleigh, England. It is a truly spectacular book with its stark black and white illustrations but with two exceptions: the hard cover under the dust jacket and a double page spread which is one of red poppies splattered with blood! Very stark and memorable images. The cruelty of war is expressed in the painfully realistic illustrations and Morpurgo's lyrical text and highlighted in the two double page spreads of the rough waters to France which the horses endure and the trenches, loud and frightening and deadly. It's a book to devour with the intricate small and double page black and white line drawings so expressively drawn that they tell a story on their own. Morpurgo's text is well known and loved for its enduring theme of the love, heroism and the tragedy of war. When Joey contracts tetanus Albert's friend David says to Major Martin, 'But I remembers you telling us when we first come here that a horse's life is 'p'raps even more important than a man's, 'cos an horse hasn't got no evil in him 'cepting any that's put there by men.' The relationships of Captain Nicholls and Joey and Joey's friendship with Topthorn are sensitively portrayed. The end papers give a practical background to the fighting. This is a book to treasure. War is terrible and so many lives are lost but the frailty of the human spirit endures in Albert and Joey and the illustrations bring the reader face to face with death, love and hope.
Sue Nosworthy

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medals 2017 longlist
CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist 2017
Branford Boase Award 2017 longlist
Children's Book Award 2017 shortlist
Infographic: Teen reading habits
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017
Newbery and Caldecott Medals 2017
ALA awards 2017
Costa Children's Book Award 2016
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates