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1001 War Horse
Added on 04th July 2020

Author Michael Morpurgo
First published 1982
Publisher Kaye & Ward

Animals Action and adventure Historical
1001

A powerful story about love, courage and loyalty in World War I.

Story

This is the story of the First World War told by Joey, a young farm horse sold to the army to serve on the battlefields of France. As Joey passes between English, French and German hands we discover that both cruelty and kindness can be found on all sides of any conflict.

Why we chose it

War Horse is a moving and powerful story about love, courage and friendship that touches readers of all ages. It is one of the best-known novels by master storyteller, Michael Morpurgo, who often uses animals to explore the best and worst of human nature. War Horse is a sensitive introduction for young readers to the reality of war and the beauty of peace.

Where it came from

Morpurgo grew up in London, Essex and Kent. After university he worked as a primary school teacher and discovered his power to tell and write stories that children enjoy. Since his first book was published in 1974 he has written over 100 novels, picture books, collections of short stories and libretti, and won numerous awards.

Morpurgo decided to write about the Great War from a horse’s point of view after chatting to three First World War veterans. He remembered a disturbing oil painting that his wife had inherited of British cavalry charging into barbed wire, and began the story with a fictional account of a portrait of Joey in his local village hall. So many readers went to look for this portrait that he had one painted to hang there.

Michael was the third Children’s Laureate (2003–2005), was knighted in 2018 and is a Patron of The Story Museum. He and his wife Clare run a charity called Farms for City Children.

Where it went next

War Horse was adapted into a hugely successful stage show that used life size wooden horse puppets and is still touring the world. It is also an acclaimed film directed by Steven Spielberg.

Associated stories

Other First World War stories by Michael Morpurgo include Private Peaceful, A Medal for Leroy, and Farm Boy, the sequel to War Horse.

When the War House stage production was taken to Australia, Morpurgo suggested that his friend Australian author Morris Gleitzman write a script for a short performance piece about Australian horses in World War One. Inspired by what he found out, Gleitzman went on to write Loyal Creatures, about the horses who went with the Australian Light Horse on the desert campaign in Egypt and Palestine.

Added on 04th July 2020

Author Michael Morpurgo
First published 1982
Publisher Kaye & Ward

Animals Action and adventure Historical
1001