Published 2007 by Egmont Press (first published 1982)
This is an absolutely beautiful story. BEAUTIFUL. And I absolutely loved it. Children’s literature holds a special place in my heart and this tugged at just the right strings.
The book is about a horse named Joey who started out on a farm. Albert became his master and best friend. During the start of World War I, Joey was sold by Albert’s father to the military to become a war horse. Albert, still too young to sign up for service, promised his beloved horse that one day, they will be together again and he will bring Joey home. Joey experiences – and loses – a lot during this time. Joey journey’s through Europe makes him a captain’s steed, then being a part of the veterinary corps, to being a little girl’s horse, and finally, back to the front lines.
The story is told in Joey’s point of view which I loved. Horses are gorgeous creatures and Morpurgo’s interpretation of what’s going on in their (at least, Joey’s) heads is just breathtaking. It was so innocent and pure, I appreciated it so much that we are seeing the war and what it did to other people through a horse’s eyes. Throughout Joey’s journey, there were laughter and tears, all of it very moving and inspiring. My heart reached out to Joey, through his losses and hardships. He is just the purest soul and I felt for him.
At less than 200 pages, it is a very easy read. And seriously, it is so good, you will not be able to put it down. It will go by so fast and you just want to know what happens next. I will not compare the book to either the stage play or the movie. This is one great book that definitely shines on its own.
Recommendation: Aimed at the 3rd to 6th grade group but I urge everyone to read it. It’s a small book that leaves a big impression.
Get your copy here.