Genre: drama, history, children’s, 9-12
Author = Michael Morpurgo
Where to Buy =
This is the beautiful story of Michael Morpurgo’s uncle’s life as resistance fighter in the south of France during the Second World War. Francis and Pieter are brothers. Each take a different path and opinion in the Second World War. But will they see eye to eye ever again?
These illustrations are done in shades of black, white and grey by Barroux to give the book the sombre tone of the war. The people in the illustrations are angular in their shapes. For me it sets the world into a tense, emotional and sad atmosphere. Some of my favourites were the landscapes, aeroplane and night sky, they were so magical. The lack of detail in the illustrations beautifully brought out the uncertainty of the future.
I loved Francis’ character, he was the sweetest person and gave a great moral standing to the book. He was also a fantastic narrator in which you could feel every moment of his life and how painful and sad some of his decisions were. By the end you felt so much for the character that you wish he was your grandad. Pieter’s character had such drive and a ready to go attitude which I thought was a great contrast from his brother. As these two attitudes were very typical for the war which is important for children to understand that there are always many sides to a war. I think for me if I was in this situation I would have been like Pieter. Nancy I loved her she sounded like an empowering and amazing woman with such grace. I just wanted to know more about her side of this story. Auguste was a determined and brave man and an absolutely heartbreaking story. He will just make your heart crumble and you will just want to give him a hug.
I can’t really comment on the plot here because its technically not a plot it is someone’s life story. However, I can say that it was beautifully represented and told in a very calm and reflective way. The looking back through telling the story worked beautifully as it made you think more about the feelings and situations after the war and how people kept going. In terms of the ending it felt like a sweet and fitting end to celebrate such an important life.
This was such an emotional read and I know Morpurgo’s books usually are but this one especially because it felt very personal and it was someone looking back from such an old age. That weight of life and decisions you make you could feel. It was interesting subject to tackle the opinions of for and against the war at that time. I think war is a terrible thing but it also made me think a lot about the meanings behind war that we use to justify it any why. I loved his way of reflecting on the situations throughout the book as it made it more intimate. I think this book is for the end of the 9-12 age range in general but anyone who finds it intriguing definitely read it!
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