Monday, April 11, 2011

A horse, a horse...a War Horse...

Once upon a time --for about nineteen years-- I taught seventh grade. One of my fondest memories was being witness to the eagerness my students exuded when given a chance to buy their very own Scholastic paperbacks. Scholastic always had great offerings. I would get a stack of small newsprint brochures, and the kids would place their orders. They ordered new stories and classics. In recent years, I have been teaching mostly seniors. These students do not order paperbacks. They read and write texts -- seemingly re-inventing Sanskrit! We just read the standards. And oh, the torture they endure! Yes, there are those who read outside of class, but I am sometimes afraid to ask just what they are reading. Oh for the days when my students wanted books and not cell phones!

I have been hearing from some of my colleagues who are still working with seventh graders about Michael Morpurgo's WAR HORSE, yes, published by Scholastic. Here is a story of a horse which may alter everything you ever thought you knew about horses. It was written for an adolescent audience, but it is galloping on its way to the classics shelf! You may have seen the feature broadcast yesterday on CBS's Sunday Morning all about the stage play based on Morpurgo's book. Click here to see how War Horse has been transformed for the stage. This play is my number one destination if I can get to London this summer.

While reading up on the production in London, I discovered more news. Not to be out done by the stage or the genius of the life size and truly realistic puppetry of the play, Steven Spielberg has the movie in the making, and we may see it as early as September 2011!

The Colonel and I have a small collection of original World War I posters. I first saw this one in a catalog we have. Though Fortunino Matania's (1881-1963) Good-bye Old Man is my all time favorite, I have only been able to find a reproduction of it. I know it was published first in the magazine Sphere, and also in several books of the artist's work. I have been looking for an original poster since 1979. I had better find a poster for the play and movie WAR HORSE.


Tess Kincaid said...

What a beautiful poster. There's got to be one out there with your name on it! I'll certainly be looking forward to the film version.

Are you familiar with Deborah Butterfield's horse sculptures? I've got a blog post in the making.

FireLight said...

Hello, Tess! No, I am not familiar with this artist. I will definitely be looking for this post.

Rowan said...

I haven't seen or read War Horse because I suspect that it is very sad but my friend went to see it last year and said it was wonderful. I must ask her whether the horse makes it through to the end - if he does I shall buy a copy and read it!
I have seen a performance of Michael Morpurgo's 'Private Peaceful' though and that was excellent.

Aven said...

You really know how to catch a girl's eye :) Keeping my eye out for these books and movies. I hope you do get to make it to London this summer. What fun!

p.s. will you be at the Old 280 Boogie this weekend? I'm bringing all three kids + hubby.

Country Girl said...

Sending this post to our middle school literature teachers. Sounds wonderful.

taio said...


Cas said...

I believe you taught me in 9th or 10th grade, and once again in college. I wasn't much of a reader then, but as I've gotten older I've picked up reading. Don't be scared to ask what I read, it's mainly bio's and WWII books. I like to feel like I've learned something when I finish a book. I hope you remember me!

FireLight said...

Rowan, I know what you mean about sad endings. As a child, all I knew of Steinbeck's THE RED PONY, was the film. While the film has some sad moments, the book is a real heartbreaker.

Country Girl, the book was first published in 1982. I hope it is still available.

Aven, we may have to look on eBay to find some copies for your boys!280 Boogie? Mr. Tony Brook on stage...and maybe dinner at Yellowhammer??...Sounds like a destination!! Thanks for reminding me!

Taio, glad you stopped by!

Cas, so glad you came here! I remember this name, yes!...Must have been in Beulahland if you were in the 9th or 10th grade...What did we read?

Lyn said...

Thank goodness we're still moved by wonderful books..and I'm pleased to tell you that if you find yourself in NYC, you will be able to take in the original London production of "War Horse"..opened last week to amazing revues! I'm aiming for that..

FireLight said...

Lyn, I was just reading all about this in the NYT...the Colonel saved me an article....also I have an article from Newsweek.
I may be wrong, but I am not sure it is still showing in London.
I may have to make NYC my destination!
I am also looking for a copy of this little book.
So good to see you here!

About Me

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Recreational scholar, former high school and junior college English teacher. Animal lover (especially horses, dogs, and people), live in the South, sometimes poet and essayist... "Ireland, Scotland, Britain, and Wales...I can hear those ancient voices calling..." Van Morrison from Celtic Heartbeat