Starred review - Publisher's Weekly, 6/30/03
"Author and illustrator Bolognese's (Letters to Horseface) novel works on many different levels: rousing adventure story, morality fable, historical period piece and quietly dazzling love story. Fifteen-year-old Lorenzo Arrighi works as an apprentice armorer in Renaissance Italy. When mercenaries threaten his city, he is torn between devotion to his father, master armorer to the Duke, who doesn't want his son to join in the war effort, and his strong sense of duty. Chief among his loves is his cherished horse, Scoppio, the finest steed in the city. Bolognese composes a fugue of small interlocked stories, each of them centered around concepts of loyalty, devotion and sacrifice. Lorenzo, a brave and compelling hero, grows from a fearless boy to a man who understands that things are almost always more involved than they seem. The author tightly orchestrates the relationships in the story: Lorenzo deeply loves his father, but also his godfather Massimo, who is more objective and understands the call to duty, as well as the Duke, the noble leader of the city who becomes a second father to the boy. Bolognese further fleshes out the atmosphere with a generous number of sepia-toned drawings of period armor and weaponry, taken from Lorenzo's sketch book. A volume to savor and revisit, from the fast-paced opening to the moving epilogue. Ages 10-14."

"When I began The Warhorse, I expected an exciting adventure story set in an unfamiliar time and place, but the book is about much more-love and loyalty, dignity, glory, and responsibility. It is the story of all of us growing up to our dreams. Watching Lorenzo is like watching a beloved child grow. And he constantly surprised me. I highly recommend this story of a boy and his horse as they search for their place in the world."
Karen Cushman, Newbery Award-winning author of The Midwife's Apprentice

"The struggle between Lorenzo's father's image of him and his own needs will be recognizable to modern readers. His sympathy with not only the unfortunates of society, but with those enemy who prove honorable makes us love him."
Donna Jo Napoli
, author of Daughter of Venice

"In the Warhorse,author/illustrator Don Bolognese crafts a fast-paced story packed with adventure, historical realism, and timely moral questions. We are introduced to 15 year-old Lorenzo Arrighi, son of Renato, the master armourer of a city in northern Italy during the Renaissance. Although Lorenzo is a gifted artist, he has dreams of becoming a knight in shining armour atop his magnificent war horse, Scoppio. Against his father's wishes Lorenzo finds his way into battle when the city comes under attack. Before long Lorenzo is swept into the center of the fighting and performs deeds of great heroism but quickly discovers the true nature of war -- its loss, its tragedy, its futility. When Lorenzo is felled by a life-threatening wound and rescued by a family of lepers he meets the angelically beautiful Beatrice. Through Beatrice's compassion and courage Lorenzo learns the most important lessons of his life -- that love is the most powerful force of all, and bravery comes in many guises.

Don Bolognese brings Lorenzo's story to life through lively prose and beautiful Renaissance-style drawings. He paints a moving portrait of Lorenzo as a proud, headstrong young man whose experiences enable him to see beyond the myths of war. Now, in an era where war is glorified and we are given sanitized images that deny its stark realities, The Warhorse deftly provides a real human picture and an invaluable message for young people.

I highly recommend this book and believe it should be discussed in homes and classes throughout the United States."
Naomi Drew, M.A. author, Hope and Healing: Peaceful Parenting in an Uncertain World (Citadel 2002)

"I have just read The Warhorse, in full, and have loved it. It is heroic, vivid, extremely touching (in, esp., the relation of Lorenzo with Beatrice; not to mention his relation with his father and also with the duke); beautifully illustrated and produced; and it operates on several levels. The battle scenes (and especially the poignant death of the mercenary, whom L. buries so loyally.)... it is all so gripping and well executed."
The Very Rev. Dr. Theology Paul F. M. Zahl, Dean, Cathedral Church of the Advent (Episcopal) Birmingham, Alabama

"What a great book! The Warhorse arrived yesterday and I read it last night. What a terrific adventure story! I really felt I was in the physical and political terrain of Renaissance Italy. It has so many history lessons in it. I really felt the risk one took in being outside of a fortified town. The description of the battle was fabulous and the whole world of the armorer was prominent. I think a lot of young readers will love this adventure story."
Nancy Holmes Calicchio, Head of Maple Street School, Manchester Center, Vermont

"With so much to do in the classrooms today, it is marvelous when a good piece of historical fiction like THE WARHORSE comes along. Not only can teachers address social studies with this novel because students will experience what life was like for a young boy during the Renaissance, but they can also support the language art curriculum by using THE WARHORSE in literature discussion groups. There are many interesting issues to pursue, for example, the difficult decision the young artist had to make when he decided to go to war against his father's wishes. THE WARHORSE is ripe with follow up activities in literacy centers. Those students who love art can do further studies on the art of armor or the power of medieval portraits along with a multitude of historical/social pursuits. THE WARHORSE is an exemplary work to help students see the similarities of their own time to one so seemingly different as the Renaissance."
Liz LeClair, Reading Specialist, Carlisle, MA


Feel free to send your comments to the author:

Don Bolognese
(click here to email)

"The Warhorse" by Don Bolognese
© 2003 published by Simon & Schuster.

"The Warhorse" by Don Bolognese
© 2003 published by Simon & Schuster.
all contents of this website are copyrighted by Don Bolognese.