Farm Boy

Farm Boy

3.1 26
by Michael Morpurgo

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From the bestselling author of WAR HORSE.See more details below


From the bestselling author of WAR HORSE.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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.).
School Library Journal
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
Publishers Weekly
First published in the U.K. in 1997, this novella, billed as a sequel to Morpurgo's War Horse, reads more like a tender epilogue. Albert, who joined the British Army during WWI at age 14 intent on finding his requisitioned horse, Joey, has long since died. Even his son is an old man now, still living on the family farm in Devon. During a summer with his (unnamed) grandson, he tells stories about his father, Albert, the war hero; their fine draft horses, Joey and Zoey; and, most importantly, how all the days spent helping with the harvest instead of going to school left him illiterate. The grandson then becomes teacher to the man, and is rewarded with a final story, written in his grandfather's unpunctuated, regional English (no grammar, phonetic spellings). Foreman's hazy watercolor-and-pencil illustrations depict rural and wartime scenes, evoking the early 20th century with period posters and advertisements. While this well-crafted story lacks the grand drama of War Horse, it offers a satisfying glimpse into a bygone era, while delivering quiet messages about the value of hard work, family, and the tragedies of war. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)

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Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
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File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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