This collection features seventeen memorable episodes from classic and contemporary "boys' booksabout pirates, or pranks, or great heroics." The selections, made by Whitbread Award-winning British author Michael Morpurgo, are nicely balanced. They include tales of great battles ("Peter's First Battle" from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) and solitary victories, quiet stories and funny ones, familiar heroes and some which are likely to be new faces. Only Winnie-the-Pooh seems truly out of place here, even among boys ranging from Flat Stanley to Oliver Twist. Morpurgo contextualizes each excerpt; although some stand alone better than others. Illustrations vary from selection to selectionsome are from original editions, others were commissioned for this volume. Many of these "boy stories" would make great read-alouds for younger children. The collection's best audience, however, are independent readersincluding boys and girls of any agewho may be encouraged to seek out the full-length versions of their favorites. 2000, Kingfisher/Houghton Mifflin, Ages 7 to 12.
Gr 4-8-In his introduction, Morpurgo promises a "taste" of classic stories, and he has included familiar ones, such as selections from Winnie-the-Pooh and Tom Sawyer as well as titles such as Flat Stanley, with the original illustrations by Tomi Ungerer. It may be a bit presumptuous to have added his own The Butterfly Lion, but the action related in that selection is more likely to entice readers to seek out the rest of the book than the quiet description from Tom's Midnight Garden. Morpurgo begins each selection with brief remarks to place it within the longer narrative. The stories will appeal to a broad age range but the dynamic illustrations by many different artists in as many different mediums will draw primarily younger readers.-Edith Ching, St. Albans School, Mt. St. Alban, Washington, DC Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.