Like Morpurgo's Private Peaceful
(2004), this searing World War I novel reveals the unspeakable slaughter of soldiers on all sides fighting against people who are just like them. The story is told by an English farm horse, Joey, and, as in Cynthia Kadahota's Cracker! The Best Dog in Vietnam
(2007), the first-person narrative blends the animal's physical experience with what men say. On the farm, Joey has close ties to Albert, who is too young to join up when his dad first sells Joey to the army. Charging into battle under machine-gun fire, Joey is captured by the Germans, who train him to haul ambulances and guns. His reunion with Albert in battle is sentimental and contrived, but the viewpoint brings close the fury of the thundering guns, the confusion, and the kindness of enemies who come together in No Man's Land to save the wounded horse. Joey's ability to understand the language wherever he is--England, France, Germany--reinforces the novel's antiwar message, and the terse details speak eloquently about peace. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Praise for Michael Morpurgo: "Michael Morpurgo writes brilliantly about war and animals, conveying the big emotions without preaching." Guardian "Champagne quality over a wide range of subjects." Daily Telegraph "There are few children's writers as compelling as Michael Morpurgo." Daily Express "Morpurgo, as always, is subtle and skillful, and incorporates social and moral issues into his writing without being self-righteous or detracting from the quality of the narrative" Elizabeth Reilly, British Council "The former children's laureate has the happy knack of speaking to both child and adult readers." Guardian
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