Michael Morpurgo: from book to stage and film

Michael Morpurgo is perhaps one of the most renowned writers of a generation.His children’s stories are both charming and thoughtful. They tell truthfully the events of the tale, whilst also being suitable for young children.

He manages to describe the scene to create vivid imagery whilst weaving in enough action to keep you interest, something that not many authors can do. The latest craze and the one with the most publicity at the moment is Warhorse.


Warhorse started out as a book but has been adapted into a theatre show and a film. Photo: Dreamworks

This novel has become a hugely successful play, and is now making its debut as a Hollywood feature film under one of the greatest directors of all time, Stephen Spielberg. It has conquered all of the creative art forms to become a legend of British storytelling.

Written from the perspective of the horse, the novel puts a unique angle on the first World War. Seeing the action through the eyes of the horse really does reiterate what a pointless action war is in the scheme of things. Joey, a fine farm horse, is sold by his farmer to become a cavalry horse, and so this tale of love, loss and heartache begins.

Although the book is definitely upsetting, it never over steps the mark into unnecessary gory description. It merely portrays the truth about war to all ages: people and animals die. Although this is a tough concept for some children to come to terms with, both the first and second World Wars are now ingrained as part of our history and most kids will learn about the war around the ages of nine or ten in school.

If anything, this book is a great accompaniment to a child’s learning. The animal point of view gets them interested, yet the book still portrays the harrows and hardships of war inflicted upon humans as well as animals.

Although Morpurgo’s novels are aimed at children, the intricate description and powerful storylines of his works resonate with all ages. I have to say that Warhorse is the first novel I have read in a while that got me so involved with the storyline and the characters that I felt their pain. This book is surely a must read, and must see all in one.

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