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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About the Author
Michael Morpurgo has written over one hundred books and won many awards. In 1976 Michael and his wife Clare started the charity Farms For City Children, which aims to relieve the poverty of experience of young children from inner city and urban areas. In 1999 they were awarded the MBE for their work in creating these farms and in 2006 Michael received an OBE. His novel War Horse has been adapted into a hugely successful and critically acclaimed West End play. Michael is a tireless champion for children's books and was formerly the Children's Laureate. Francois Place is a French author and illustrator specialising in children's literature. He wrote Les Dernier Geants (The Last Giants), a book which went on to win numerous awards. He has since won the Grand Prix de la foire de Bologne for l'Atlas des Geographes d'Orbae (The Atlas of the Geographers of Orbae) as well as winning a special award from Les Librairies Sorcieres. He lives in France.