Monday, July 30, 2012

8 Excellent Books by Michael Morpurgo

I just discovered a new author, Michael Morpurgo. He lives in England and has written more than 100 books - that's a lot of books! He's written picture books, middle grade books and books for older kids. Here are just a few of them...

 The Pied Piper of Hamlin illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
I love this book! It tells the story of the Pied Piper in a lovely way, from the point of view of one of the kids. It begs to be read aloud, the writing is so musical. Warning: if rats freak you out, stay away from the illustrations :)

 The McElderry Book of Aesop's Fables illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
I love Aesop's Fables. They are short and give lessons anyone can understand. Aesop wrote over 300 fables more than 2,000 years ago! Morpurgo took 21 of the fables and rewrote them in easier to read language. The stories, and the illustrations, are terrific.

 Great Boy Stories: A Treasury of Classics from Children's Literature
There are 17 stories in this book, all chosen by Morpurgo. They include Peter Pan, The Sword in the Stone, Dragon Slayer and others. There is just a piece (Morpurgo calls it a taste) from each story. If you like what you read - get a copy of the whole book to read the rest. Although the title says Boy Stories, anyone would like these stories, not just boys.

 Jo-Jo the Melon Donkey illustrated by Tony Kerins
Jo-Jo carries melons for his master, who sells them in the market. When a flood threatens, Jo-Jo warns the town. I liked this story a lot. It's well told and has strong characters. It's aYellow Banana (level 4) book, which is a British early readers series.

Arthur: High King of Britain illustrated by Michael Foreman
If you are a fan of King Arthur and Merlin stories, you'll want to check out this book. It's a big book with over 130 pages and pictures every 2-5 pages. It tells the story from Arthur's point of view, starting when he was young until the last days of Camelot.

 Dolphin Boy illustrated by Michael Foreman
Young Jim lives in a fishing village. Unfortunately, all the fish are gone and no one goes out fishing any more. One day, Jim spots a dolphin beached on the sand. He runs to get help and everyone works together to return the dolphin to the water. The dolphin stays in the harbor and helps the people in the village. This book has real magic.

 War Horse
This story happens during World War I. It’s told from the point of view of the horse, Joey. Joey tells terrible stories of being in the war. He has great courage and makes friends with horses and people wherever he goes. I listened to this story as an audio book and liked it very much. There is a movie based on the book. The sequel is Farm Boy.

 Kasper, the Titanic Cat  illustrated by Michael Foreman
Fourteen-year-old Johnny Trott works at London's Savoy Hotel in 1912. He becomes caregiver to Kaspar, the Prince of Cats. Together, they have many adventures, including stowing away on the Titanic. This is a terrific story.

I hope you will read some of the books by Michael Morpurgo. You can start with these or try one of his other 100 books. Enjoy!

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