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Singing for Mrs. Pettigrew: Stories and Essays from a Writing Life
     

Singing for Mrs. Pettigrew: Stories and Essays from a Writing Life

by Michael Morpurgo, Peter Bailey (Illustrator)
 
One of today’s greatest storytellers explores the craft of writing in this collection of stories and essays by Michael Morpurgo.

Here is a literary journey that roams from the warmth of Provence in "Meeting Cézanne" to the war-torn town of "I Believe in Unicorns;" from the music-fi lled streets of Venice in "The Mozart

Overview

One of today’s greatest storytellers explores the craft of writing in this collection of stories and essays by Michael Morpurgo.

Here is a literary journey that roams from the warmth of Provence in "Meeting Cézanne" to the war-torn town of "I Believe in Unicorns;" from the music-fi lled streets of Venice in "The Mozart Question" to the quiet English marshes of Michael Morpurgo’s hometown in "Singing for Mrs. Pettigrew." Complementing each tale is an original essay revealing the inspiration behind the story or offering a peek into the intricacies of the author’s craft. Readers and writers alike will be intrigued by this unique collection from a teller of tales who has captured hearts around the world.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Written by a celebrated British laureate of children's literature, this collection of ten essays on the joy and pain of writing and eleven stories from the author's repertoire for children is a nostalgic look back for the author and a message of hope for future writers. Most of the essays are a remembrance of experiences and people who influenced the author's desire to write or are the inspiration for one of his stories. In fact, he is a proponent of writing what you know and about the experiences you have had. He reminds everyone that they are all potential storytellers. Many of the eleven stories spring from experiences in his past, growing up in Britain or from other writers he has met over the years. Of course, they are adapted but there are elements of experiences he has had or characters he has met, many of them as a child himself. It is a style of writing popular when the author was himself a child. Occasional black and white drawings spark interest. The author has written over 100 books, mostly for children. This nostalgic remembrance will appeal to his many fans and may encourage budding authors to keep writing. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
VOYA - Heather Pittman
Morpurgo's book of short stories interspersed with personal essays is an inspired collection. The stories are rich and riveting, and the essays are an interesting chronicle of the author's life and journey as a writer. Some stories are tragic, such as the tale of a village massacre in What Does It Feel Like. Others are inspiring, such as the hopeful I Believe in Unicorns. Each story is beautifully written and a joy to read. Morpurgo's own essays talk of his development as a person and as a writer and include tales of the inspirations behind the stories. The biographical information is fascinating as the author changes and grows as a writer. Young adult readers will enjoy each short story. They are concise, interesting, and well written for any age. The essays, however, are too mature for most younger readers. Although eloquently written, they tend to be long and mention various figures that are likely to be unfamiliar to most teens. The poet Ted Hughes is referenced a multitude of times as a friend and mentor to the author, but most young readers are unlikely to be familiar with his work. The short stories in this collection are to be shared with all. The long essays, although good, will appeal most to older teens specifically interested in becoming writers themselves. Reviewer: Heather Pittman
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—This collection of short stories, each prefaced by a related essay, will probably resonate more with adults than with young people. The stories have all been published previously, and the author's insights into the creative process or backstories about his relationship with Ted Hughes, for example, will not enlarge upon them in ways that most young readers are likely to appreciate. Selections include "Meeting Cézanne," "I Believe in Unicorns," "My Father Is a Polar Bear," and "The Mozart Question." Bailey's line drawings have a lovely old-fashioned quality appropriate to the remembrances inspired by Morpurgo's boyhood or his magically inflected tales of children with keen imaginations. Libraries lacking these stories in their other editions may want to add this collection. For those who already have Morpurgo's books, it is unnecessary.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Looking back over his life and long career the former British Children's Laureate offers 11 short stories published between 1982 and 2006 interleaved with reflections on the art and craft of writing and the influences of places (particularly the Scilly Isles), people and other authors on his own work. The stories run a tonal gamut from the tongue-in-cheek "Meeting Cezanne" (in which a lad mistakes one great artist for another) to the inspiring rescue of a library in "I Believe in Unicorns." The deeply poignant "For Carlos, a Letter from Your Father," written by a doomed soldier to his infant son, is one of five stories that involve war's short- or long-term tragedies. Throughout, Bailey scatters small, Edward Ardizzone-style sketches that echo the author's characteristically meditative voice. Morpurgo will probably never have a wide audience-of children, at least-on this side of the Atlantic, but his literary gifts and his approach to what he dubs "an art and a craft and a marvelous magic" come through clearly here. (Belles lettres. 12 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763636241
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
10/27/2009
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
10 Years

Meet the Author

Michael Morpurgo, the Children’s Laureate of Britain from 2003 to 2005, has written more than one hundred books and received numerous prestigious awards. He and his wife, Clare, founded the organization Farms for City Children. They live in Devon, England.

Peter Bailey has been illustrating books for more than thirty-five years and has worked with such authors as Philip Pullman, Dick King-Smith, and Allan Ahlberg. He lives in Liverpool, England.

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