Here are some facts about War Horse by Michael Morpurgo.
- War Horse was first published in 1982 by Kaye & Ward.
- The novel is written from the point of view of Joey, a horse bought by the Army to serve in World War 1. It describes Joey’s experiences, and details how Albert, Joey’s former owner, tries to bring him home safely from France.
- Michael Morpurgo says three men inspired the story idea that eventually became War Horse. Wilfred Ellis, a World War 1 veteran, told Michael Morpurgo what is was like to work with horses in the Devon Yeomanry. Captain Budgett, another World War 1 vet, told Michael all about WW1 cavalry, and Albert Weeks, from Iddesleigh, talked to Michael about how the Army had come through the village buying horses for the war effort.
- He was also inspired by a harrowing World War 1 painting showing WW1 horses charging into barbed wire as they approached the German lines.
- War Horse was adapted for the stage by Nick Stafford. The play was first staged at the Olivier Theatre in 2007. It used life-size puppets to portray the horses.
- War Horse has also been turned into a movie. The screenplay was written by Richard Curtis and Lee Hall, and it was directed by Steven Spielberg. It was released on 25th December 2011.
- The book was runner-up for the 1982 Whitbread Book Award.
- It is estimated that nearly one million British horses died during World War 1, and perhaps as many as 10 million horses lost their lives during the entire conflict.
- In 2008, War Horse was adapted for the radio. The broadcast featured the voices of Timothy Spall, Bob Hoskins and Brenda Blethyn.