Reader Reviewed The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr

The Winter Horses

Written by Philip Kerr

11+ readers   Books of the Month   13+ readers   The World Wars   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

Chosen as one of the Top Ten Best New Books for Children 2015 by Andrea Reece. - January 2015 Book of the Month I had never heard of Przewalskis horses until I read this book (they do in fact have an entry in Creaturepedia). The last descendants of an ancient breed, they live on the Ukrainian nature reserve Askaniya-Nova which is where this story begins. It’s wartime and a troop of SS soldiers have been sent to destroy the horses, as ‘a biologically unfit species’. Kalinka, a young girl orphaned by the war takes it on herself to lead the last two horses to safety. What follows is a gripping story of courage and resolve, an unusual animal story that is even more affecting because it includes real life events. ~ Andrea Reece

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert review, some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Benedict Simpson, age 12 - 'The Winter Horses is an interesting and exciting book, which would appeal to older boys and girls, especially those who like animals.' Read full review >
  • Rachel Galbraith, age 9 - 'A Fantastic way to see a World War through the eyes of a child.' Read full review >
  • Isabel Kardos-Stowe, age 10 - 'I loved this book, it was very well written and made me really feel the emotions of the characters...Truly a good read.' Read full review >
  • Elle Cogan, age 11 - 'The amazing story of Kalinka and her mission to save two wild horses will have you hooked within the first few pages.'
  • Lucie Harrison, age 11 - 'A tale packed with friendship and facts on WW2 in Ukraine.' Read full review >
  • Calum Stillie, age 11 - 'Although tense and traumatic at times, The Winter Horses has a heartwarming ending and I would recommend this book for girls and boys.' Read full review >
  • Rachel Ilsley, age 11 - 'This book was amazing, I truly loved it however it was really sad and made me want to cry. Philip Kerr is a great author. I now want to own a Przewaski horse.' Read full review >


The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr

A breathtaking tale of survival set in Ukraine during the dark days of WWII. Based on true events, a young girl must set out on a treacherous journey through the frozen Ukrainian forest to save the only two surviving horses and herself. This sensitive, inspiring tale captures the power of sacrifice, the endurance of the human spirit and the astonishing loyalty of animals. It will soon be another cold winter in the Ukraine. Max, the devoted caretaker of a wildlife reserve, must learn to live with the Nazis who have overrun his land. He must also learn to keep secrets - for there is a girl, Kalinka, who is hiding in the park. Kalinka has lost her home, her family, her belongings - everything but her life. Still, she has gained one small, precious gift: a relationship with the rare wild and wily Przewalski's horses that wander the reservation. Apart from Max, these endangered animals are her only friends - until a Nazi campaign of extermination nearly wipes them out for good.

The story is based on true events. The rare, wild and wily Przewalski horses are genetically different from today's horses and were seen as inferior to the Nazi's thoroughbreds. Courageous characters and remarkable animals will appeal to readers of The Book Thief and War Horse.


Fast-paced action and interesting history keep readers turning the pages... Kirkus Reviews

Like the best stories told around a campfire, it is spllbinding... School Library Journal

About the Author

Philip Kerr

Philip Kerr is the New York Times bestselling author of nine Bernie Gunther novels and several standalone thrillers. His book If The Dead Rise Not won the 2009 CWA Ellis Peters Award for Best Historical Crime Novel and Spain's RBA International Prize for Crime Writing. He is also a children's author of the seven volume Children of the Lamp series, translated into 30 languages and in development with Paramount, and one standalone children's book One Small Step about a teenage astronaut. Kerr has written for The Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and the New Statesman. Born in Edinburgh, he studied law and philosophy before becoming an advertising copywriter at Saatchi and Saatchi. His first book was published in 1989. He now divides his time between London and Cornwall.

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Book Info


288 pages
Interest Age: From 11


Philip Kerr
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Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

1st January 2015




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