I saw the stage adaptation of War Horse on New Year’s Eve and was blown away by the puppetry, and the story, and wondered how the book could be considered a book for children.

Now that I have read the book I can see the differences. 

The book is told from the point of view of a horse – Joey.

We first meet Joey as a young colt when he is sold to farmer Ted Narracott. Ted’s teenage year old son Albert takes to Joey immediately and the two become firm friends.

However it is not long before Albert’s father has money troubles and he sells Joey to the British Army (Captain Nicholls sees what a special horse Joey is and enlists Joey as his own ride)

Once they arrive in France Joey makes friends with another army horse -Topthorn and they ride into battle together.

Captain Nicholls is killed while riding Joey & later Joey’s new rider, Trooper Warren, & Topthorn’s rider Captain Stewart are captured by the Germans, Joey & Topthorn are pressed into service by the Germans as ambulance horses.

After the Germans move on Joey & Topthorn are left with a local farmer and his granddaughter Emilie. Emilie looks after both horses until another group of Germans come through and take the horses to pull one of their artillery guns.

Meanwhile Albert has left his Devon home and enlisted in a bid to find Joey & bring the horse home to his family.

This is an interesting, readable story about a boy and his horse; about horses in World War I; and about the horrors of war.