Study Guide

War Horse Family

By Michael Morpurgo


Sad as it may be, that adorable little pug puppy your adopted probably never knew its own family. And horses are no different, as we see at the very beginning of War Horse when Joey is taken away from his mother and sold to another farm. But just because these creatures are taken away from their birth family, it doesn't mean they're alone. Joey the horse and Albert the boy practically grow up together, side by side. Their bond is stronger than friendship; it's family. To Albert, Joey's just a brother from another mother—a four-legged one.

Questions About Family

  1. Why does Joey see Albert as a brother more than a friend? Does this familial bond poke its head out in any other relationships?
  2. Why does Emilie think of Joey and Topthorn as family? Do they feel the same way about her?
  3. How does Albert's family life when we meet him at thirteen affect who he becomes later in life?
  4. Why doesn't Joey ever think about his mother, whom he was taken away from at six months old?

Chew on This

Family transcends blood bonds and even species. Joey and Albert are family. More than friends, these two will recognize each other anytime, anywhere, and will do anything for one another.

Due to his inability to communicate effectively with other horses, Joey is more likely to think of other humans as his family, because of their caring and nurturing ways.