Is Michael Morpurgo for adults too?

(14 Posts)
LeoTheLateBloomer Thu 18-Apr-13 18:18:42

Our local library provides a service for book groups where they give us a reading list, we cross off any we definitely don't want to read and return it to them, then they supply us with whatever title is available when we need a new book.

We currently have Private Peaceful which has led to lots of comments like "but he's a children's author isn't he?" (Clearly we managed to leave him on the list we returned to the library)

Now I love Michael Morpurgo, having got to know his books when I was teaching in primary schools and want to make a really good case for why his books are great for adults too. The trouble is I'm useles at articulating this sort of thing (and two of the group have three English degrees between them so I need to sound really good and convincing!)

Are there any other Morpurgo fans out there who can back me up and give me some suggestions?!

TIA smile

BrianButterfield Thu 18-Apr-13 18:31:43

Private Peaceful is a powerful tale told simply. The themes - love, death, loyalty, bravery/cowardice - are as appropriate for an adult audience as a younger one. I'm teaching it currently and therefore reading it for the fourth time and I still think it's a great (though quick, for me) read and there's plenty to discuss. The ending truly shocked me and I have read a lot of books!

LeoTheLateBloomer Thu 18-Apr-13 18:40:07

Thanks Brian that's exactly it, a powerful tale told simply. I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes it. While I was reading it I tried to picture a child dealing with some of the issues raised and traumas that take place. What age do you teach?

BrianButterfield Thu 18-Apr-13 18:43:20

I'm teaching it to year 8 which I think is a good age as they can identify with Tommo growing up well. I find the ending really moving as a parent as I picture my DS and it makes me cry! So it can work on more than one level as you can see it from the boys' point of view or the mother's. There's also the background detail about class with the Colonel and the power of propaganda.

There's a good film now as well.

LeoTheLateBloomer Thu 18-Apr-13 18:48:34

Ah year 8, that makes more sense. Because of my background in primary I couldn't shake the picture of year 6 children being traumatised by it! I've done Morgurgo books with years 3 and 4 but this one is definitely a step up from the likes of the Butterfly Lion and Adolphus Tips!

Thank you again.

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 19-Apr-13 13:55:03

I can't help but I desperately tried to get Ds1 to pick War Horse as his bedtime story but he picked The Butterfly Lion!

Good luck.

I don't like him much (English teacher) but think Private Peaceful is his best by a long way. I find a lot of them overly 'worthy' and a bit dull tbh. My dds loathed him, apart from Adolphus Tips (I think they liked that because we had a holiday in the place it's set).

I would say that David Almond is generally a better writer and more likely to appeal.

LastMangoInParis Fri 19-Apr-13 21:39:51

Not much of a Morpurgo fan either, myself, but if you like his books, why not enjoy enjoying them? No reason to deny yourself the pleasure and interest of reading something because it's 'just for children'.

squoosh Tue 23-Apr-13 23:33:47

I disgraced myself reading the last few pages of Private Peaceful on the train. I was sobbing like a baby, an unexpected and heart wrenching ending. I think it is a perfect and beautiful book.

Thewhingingdefective Wed 24-Apr-13 08:58:11

Private Peaceful is heartbreaking.

I really enjoyed the audiobook of Alone on a Wide Wide Sea - didn't find it worthy at all.

The Wreck of the Zanzibar is a nice one.

(I prefer David Almond too...)

duchesse Wed 24-Apr-13 09:10:54

Definitely! There are very few children's authors who write so well that the appeal is universal, and MP is one of them imo.

Samu2 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:30:40

My children got all his books for Xmas from a family member.

Now I know what I will be reading smile

liveotherwise Wed 24-Apr-13 09:33:08

Am I the only person who finds Morpurgo overly predictable and unremittingly depressing? I've read several of his books to the kids after recommendations from friends, and we've now unanimously agreed that we're not reading any more. They may be beautifully written (I'm not convinced tbh) but do they all have to be quite so disastrous?

Takver Wed 24-Apr-13 09:55:17

Nope, liveotherwise, its not only you. I haven't read them, but dd is a big reader with very catholic tastes, and she could have written your description word for word. In fact recently she threatened to put surreptitious post-it notes in the front of the worst ones at school after one of her friends (Sept born yr 6 boy) was miserable at her all afternoon after reading one at lunchtime!

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