War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Challenge 34 ~ “A book set in your home county.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I’m not an animal person. That’s not to say I don’t think they’re amazing or worthy or have rights, but that I’m not in my element surrounded by animals. As a consequence, I haven’t really read many books with animals as central characters, and I’ve definitely not read any narrated by an animal. But Morpurgo certainly has me rethinking the roles of animals in literature, because both War Horse and The Butterfly Lion have been terrific!

Just like so many of the other books I’ve read this past year, War Horse has had a significant amount of hype – both from avid bookworms and the more casual reader. Of course, this is aided by its adaptation into a phenomenal (or so I’m told) show.

From all the media attention on the novel, I was fully prepared for disappointment (and also sadness, because everyone says how sad War Horse is.) I found neither. War Horse was a strong book in a literary and plot sense, which captivated me (despite my usual apathy for animal-dominated books or those set during a war). The novel was aimed at a youthful audience, but remained accessible to the older audience and was extremely well researched.

Among the general public (at least in Britain) War Horse has an honourable standing as both a children’s book, and as an investigation of life in the trenches. I thoroughly agree with this treasured perspective, and was a particular fan of how the tale encompassed life from both a German and English perspective. Morpurgo, through strong research and great literary talent, spins a tale that is both engaging and well written, and one I would recommend to everyone of all ages and interest.

Recommended for fans of:

  • The Silver Sword by Tim Serraillier
  • Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Septys
  • The Child’s Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnston

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