Set on a farm in rural Devon, Farm Boy is a collection of Grandpa's reminiscences and stories touchingly told to his grandson. Superbly told by a master storyteller and stunningly illustrated by Michael Foreman -- an exquisite book. Joey was the last working horse on the farm, and the apple of Grandpa's eye. In War Horse, published twelve years ago, Joey was sent away from the farm to be a warhorse in WWI. Grandpa had joined the cavalry in order to find, and fight, with Joey. Farm Boy brings us forward fifty years with Grandpa not only telling his grandson, Joey's story but also a 'shameful secret' which he has held for years -- Grandpa has never learned to read and write. The story is set in Iddesleigh in Devon and lovingly evokes the bonds between farm and farmer; grandson and grandfather. The spirit of rural life is superbly captured in both Michael Morpurgo's writing and Michael Foreman's illustrations. An irresistable title from acclaimed author-illustrator partnership. The title was first published in full colour by Pavilion. / Michael Morpurgo is going from strength to strength: his last novel Born to Run was his best launch yet selling over 36k* HBs in the first 3 months of publication / This new edition will bring this classic story into the new Michael Morpurgo branding to delight a new generation of kids
Michael Morpurgo OBE is one of Britain's best-loved writers for children, and has sold more than 35 million books around the world. He has written more than 150 novels and won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Whitbread Award and the Blue Peter Book Award, while several of his books have been adapted for stage and screen, including the global theatrical phenomenon War Horse. Michael was Children's Laureate from 2003 to 2005, and founded the charity Farms for City Children with his wife, Clare. He was knighted in 2018 for services to literature and charity.
Gr 5-8-In a rambling story, the narrator relates family memories spanning four generations on an English farm. Beginning with the hours he spent as a child atop Grandpa's old disabled Fordson tractor, he remembers: "I'd be ploughing or tilling or mowing, anything I wanted. It didn't matter to me that the engine didn't work...." Later, Grandpa tells him the story of how he came to own the tractor, a tale involving a beloved horse and a braggart, rich neighbor who was foolish enough to make a bet pitting the horse against the modern farm machine. Morpurgo's storytelling style is unhurried, reflecting great skill at giving unique voices to his characters. Episodes are loosely strung together in classic fireside style. At one point, Grandpa tells his own story in a letter to the narrator. The memories of his workhorse are particularly poignant, and readers will learn many details about life during the early part of this century and World War I. The book is generously illustrated with Foreman's soft watercolor-and-pencil illustrations and period posters, flyers, and advertisements. While some children will genuinely appreciate the style and content of this well-designed book, its appeal will be mostly to adults.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI
`Here is a very important book, combining the very best of
storytelling and illustration.'
`If there are such things as contemporary classics, then this,
surely is one of them.'
Following their Robin of Sherwood and Arthur, High King of Britain, Morpurgo and Foreman turn their talents to historical fiction about the Maid of Orl‚ans. Morpurgo frames his chronicle of Joan of Arc within a contemporary story about Eloise, a 17-year-old French girl who has set her heart on playing Joan in the annual tableaux in Orl‚ans, where Eloise's family has just moved. When Eloise narrowly loses a contest to portray Joan, she seeks the solace of the sparrow she has befriended down by the river. There a voice from on high ("from deep inside the light, deep inside the silence") tells her the complete story of Joan of Arc, including Joan's lifelong companionship with a white sparrow ("He was her best friend on this earth"). Told in smooth, expansive chapters, the narrative skirts some of the more searching questions about Joan's voices and vocation (such as those raised in Diane Stanley's recent picture-book biography, Joan of Arc) and accepts Joan's religious visions at face value. Indeed, with the introductions of a supernatural narrator and of a sparrow that enjoys an almost mystical relationship with Joan, Morpurgo signals that his storytelling is premised on faith. Foreman, too, adopts only the look of realism. His deceptively sunny palette offsets the often brutal matter of the narrative, and his familiar, informal, representational style balances his allusions to religious imagery. If the work is not as provocative as Stanley's, its polish and panoramic scope will lure and hold readers. Ages 9-14. (Mar.) FYI: Also coming from Morpurgo and Foreman this month is Farm Boy, a contemporary story set in Devon and focusing on a storytelling grandfather and his grandson (Pavilion [Trafalgar, dist.], $16.95 paper 80p ages 7-10 ISBN 1-86205-192-5; Mar.).