War Horse

War Horse - I am embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of this book until the Tony Awards, when the play based on this tale won numerous awards. In any event, "War Horse" is the brilliantly told story of Joey, a Devonshire farm horse in the early years of the 20th century. Joey belongs to the Narracott family, and is especially beloved of Albert, the son.When World War I comes along, Albert's father sells Joey to the Army so that he can save the family farm. Albert swears never to forget Joey and to find him one day.Told from Joey's perspective, a la Black Beauty, readers are given a perspective on the war from a number of angles. No one side is preferred or demonized; the author takes great pains to show the goodness and humanity, and the unpleasantness, on all sides -- demonstrating that human nature is the same across cultures.Although this book is aimed at the 9-12 set, it does not talk down. The language is straightforward and evocative. I will also admit that I wept like a child myself a couple of times. Parents may wish to be prepared for some discussions about difficult matters.The author's note at the beginning says that there is a small painting of a war horse called Joey, by a Captain James Nichols (who appears in the pages of the book), hanging in the village hall. If this little painting was Morpurgo's inspiration, I must say that it stood him very well.Highly recommended.