Book Review: War Horse

By Michael Morpurgo

Review by Sarah (TAB Member)

World War I took over 7 million lives, but people were not the only things that were killed. Hundreds of thousands of horses were killed and even more were wounded. Horses were just as much of an asset to World War I as men were. Michael Morpurgo wrote the eye-opening novel War Horse told from the perspective of a farm horse named Joey who ends up becoming a “War Horse.”

Joey lived on a farm with the most loyal master that a horse could have. Albert was Joey’s best friend and would do anything for him. Joey had come to the farm when he was just a colt after Albert’s dad purchased him at an auction. Immediately, Albert fell in love with the colt and named him Joey. The boy spent as much time as he possible could with him. He taught Joey to pull, to plow, and to carry someone on his back. Joey was trained well, and to Albert he was a one of a kind horse.

World War I started while Joey was on the farm, and one day Albert’s father came and led Joey out of the stable. He hitched him to a wagon and took him into town. Once there, Joey saw a lot of military men and he wondered why the army was there. Then it happened, Albert’s dad sold Joey to the army so that he could get the money to keep the farm going. Joey was now a war horse.

Joey was taken to training camp where he was to be whipped into shape. His rider and master was Corporal Samuel Perkins. The Corporal was a man that both men and horses respectfully feared, but he always made sure that Joey was comfortable and had everything he needed. While at the camp, Joey met another horse named Topthorn. The two became inseparable and they constantly relied upon each other for support. It was Topthorn who kept Joey calm during tough times.

This book helped bring the reality of World War I to life. I never knew that horses played such a crucial role in the war. They pulled medical carts and machinery and they delivered messages and supplies. This book touched my heart because Albert lost his best friend to the war and throughout the whole book he never stopped looking for him. The connections that Joey made with the people around him, whether it was Albert, the Corporal, or a little girl, showed how special Joey was. I would recommend this book to those who want to read good books about loyalty and friendship.

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