Books by Michael Morpurgo

NOT BAD FOR A BAD LAD by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 1, 2016

"A smooth story for horse-mad readers, but it's unlikely to find a much larger audience than that. (Historical fiction. 10-12)"
A "bad lad" combines a passion for horses and music and makes good. Read full book review >
LISTEN TO THE MOON by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 27, 2015

"A poignant and life-affirming story from a master. (author's notes) (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
War invades a peaceful English fishing community. Read full book review >
HALF A MAN by Michael Morpurgo
YOUNG ADULT
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"A sorrowful yet ultimately redeeming tale. (Fiction. 12-16)"
A grandson's loving homage to his war-scarred grandfather. Read full book review >
MEETING CÉZANNE by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 8, 2013

"Art lovers of all ages will find this charming read-aloud as delicious a treat as a serving of crème brûlée. (Fiction. 7-10)"
A sweet slice of life in 1960s Provence. Read full book review >
WHERE MY WELLIES TAKE ME by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 27, 2013

"'And all shall behold the seasons unfold' in this beautiful volume celebrating nature and verse in its most splendid quietude. (afterword, poetry index) (Poetry/fiction. 8-12)"
With a keen and sensitive eye, a young English girl explores the Devon countryside. Read full book review >
SHADOW by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 4, 2012

"Humanity triumphs over evil and bureaucracy in this heart-rending and heart-affirming story. (postscript, background information on Yarl's Wood and sniffer dogs) (Fiction. 9-14)"
Two 14-year-old boys, one Afghan and one English, find friendship with each other and with two exceptional dogs. Read full book review >
KASPAR THE TITANIC CAT by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 13, 2012

"Surprisingly (and disappointingly) dull. (Historical fiction. 9-12)"
Readers might be tempted to check the copyright date on this old-fashioned rags-to-riches tale that manages to turn a major historical disaster into just another incident in the narrator's very full life. Read full book review >
AN ELEPHANT IN THE GARDEN by Michael Morpurgo
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 25, 2011

"A moving but somewhat flawed tale of human—and animal—courage in the face of tragic suffering. (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
Lizzie, a frail, aged nursing-home resident, relates to her nurse and the nurse's son her poignant World War II tale set in Dresden, Germany. Read full book review >
THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 1, 2011

"An evocative and effective retelling of an old classic. (Picture book. 6-9)"
The rich may ignore the poor, but the Piper must be paid. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"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)"
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. Read full book review >
HANSEL AND GRETEL by Michael Morpurgo
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"This psychologically freighted rendition isn't nearly as innocuous as the sparkly cover suggests, but Chichester Clark's slightly distant, brightly patterned cartoon illustrations ameliorate some of the tale's more unsettling aspects. (Picture book/folktale. 10-12)"
Morpurgo casts a particularly repugnant witch in this lengthy, expanded version of the classic folktale. Read full book review >
ON ANGEL WINGS by Michael Morpurgo
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2007

"Blake's distinctive illustrations in watercolor and ink amplify the text with small spot illustrations on most pages and larger illustrations in glowing gold and red of the angel Gabriel. (Fiction. 7-adult)"
Blake and Morpurgo, both former holders of the British children's laureate honor, join their considerable talents in this touching Christmas story aimed at both older children and adults. Read full book review >
I BELIEVE IN UNICORNS by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

"And like Jeanette Winter's The Librarian of Basra (2005), the idea that saving literature is as heroic as saving lives comes through loud and clear. (Fiction. 9-11)"
In a fictional episode inspired by several true ones, people band together to save their library after a sudden attack leaves their small town in flames. Read full book review >
BEOWULF by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Nov. 1, 2006

"Hear, and listen well, my friends, and I will tell you a tale that has been told for a thousand years and more." Read full book review >
THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS by Michael Morpurgo
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2006

"Readers drawn to the wonderful green eyes of the cat on the cover may find their disappointment that this isn't really a cat story assuaged by the considerable charm of Lily's narrative. (Fiction. 8-11)"
Lily Tregenza's diary entries provide an engaging glimpse of the changes wrought upon her family farm and small village on the Devon coast during the months leading up to D-Day. Read full book review >
THE MCELDERRY BOOK OF AESOP’S FABLES by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 1, 2005

"Try it one on one, or with small groups of listeners. (Folk tales. 6-8)"
Morpurgo offers 21 old fables, plus a trenchant new one of his own by way of introduction, all written in an informal tone—" ‘There you are, said Mouse.' ‘I told you I'd pay you back, didn't I?' ‘A tiddly thing like you helping out a king of the beasts like me,' Lion replied. ‘Who'd have thought it possible?' "—and capped by traditional morals in capital letters. Read full book review >
DOLPHIN BOY by Michael Morpurgo
ANIMALS
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

"A happy tale that carries the now almost contrarian idea that good deeds indeed are, occasionally, properly rewarded. (Picture book. 7-9)"
The renowned team's newest collaboration celebrates a collective act of kindness. Read full book review >
PRIVATE PEACEFUL by Michael Morpurgo
ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

From England's Children's Laureate, a searing WWI-era tale of a close extended family repeatedly struck by adversity and injustice. Read full book review >
SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT by Michael Morpurgo
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Oct. 1, 2004

"Several condensed versions of the story are available for young readers, but enhanced by striking art, plus handsome packaging that includes a text in (perfectly legible) green, this full rendition stands apart. (Folktale. 10-13)"
Morpurgo offers a fluid translation of the 14th-century tale. Read full book review >
TORO! TORO! by Michael Morpurgo
ANIMALS
Released: March 1, 2004

"Compelling. (Fiction. 9-11)"
A young child sees violence done in the bull ring, and worse violence to his small town, in this powerful, simply written tale by Britain's Children's Laureate, set during the Spanish Civil War. Read full book review >
KENSUKE’S KINGDOM by Michael Morpurgo
ADVENTURE
Released: March 1, 2003

"A prizewinning import: sensitive, perceptive, and well-told. (Fiction. 10-12)"
More adventure than ordeal, this survival tale will fit the bill for thoughtful readers discomfited by extreme violence or gross details. Read full book review >
THE SILVER SWAN by Michael Morpurgo
ANIMALS
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"Despite beautiful art, a misguided attempt that fails to take flight. (Picture book. 7-9)"
One of the best-known English madrigals is "The Silver Swan," a haunting melody about a swan's dying song written in 1612 by Orlando Gibbons, and familiar to anyone who has spent much time in a choir robe. Read full book review >
WOMBAT GOES WALKABOUT by Michael Morpurgo
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 2000

"Besides its undeniable kid appeal, the wombat is the mascot of at least two online library discussion groups—they are going to love it. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Beautiful book design and illustrations drenched in the red-gold light of Australia enhance the warm-hearted story of Wombat. Read full book review >
FARM BOY by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 1, 1999

"Although the grandfather and the narrator, who has grown into young manhood by the end, appear only occasionally, their warm mutual regard for one another comes through clearly, anchoring this expertly crafted reminder that stories can link generations. (Fiction. 9-11)"
A lad gives his grandfather a great gift, and receives one in return in this small gem from two of Britain's foremost children's book talents. Read full book review >
THE BUTTERFLY LION by Michael Morpurgo
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 1997

"This dreamlike story is suffused with a man's lifelong love for a rare, gentle animal friend. (Fiction. 9-12)"
A runaway schoolboy finds a magnificent monument to a magnificent animal in this ghost story, at once marvelous and matter-of-fact, from Morpurgo (Robin of Sherwood, 1996, etc.). Read full book review >
ROBIN OF SHERWOOD by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

"Resonant and satisfying. (Fiction. 9-14)"
The story of the hero of Sherwood Forest is retold in this compelling, heartwarming, illustrated adventure book for older children. Read full book review >
THE GHOST OF GRANIA O'MALLEY by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 1996

Even an unusually vivacious ghost can't brighten this lackluster tale of young people fighting to preserve the scenic beauty of their Irish island. Read full book review >
THE DANCING BEAR by Michael Morpurgo
ANIMALS
Released: April 1, 1996

"However, the Pied Piper theme is thoroughly developed, and the misty black- and-white drawings echo the pervasive melancholy of the text. (Fiction. 9-12)"
Readers of Morpurgo's Waiting for Anya (1990), which also featured an orphaned bear cub, may feel this novella is set in the same tiny, sheepherding village in the French Pyrenees. Read full book review >
THE WRECK OF THE ZANZIBAR by Michael Morpurgo
ADVENTURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"Laura takes an active role in the rescue; her courage lights up a small, tidy drama. (Fiction. 10-12)"
A great-aunt's childhood diary opens a window to the past in this introspective, deeply felt story by Morpurgo (The War of Jenkins' Ear, p. 1284, etc.). Read full book review >
THE WAR OF JENKINS' EAR by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 14, 1995

"Morpurgo is unhindered by the undeniably British locale and characters: He has written a rare novel that has the capacity to teach its potent lessons of altruism to many readers. (Fiction. 9- 12)"
Morpurgo (The Sandman and the Turtles, 1994, etc.) chooses a British preparatory school in the 1950s as the unlikely setting for the second coming of Christ in an engrossing, imaginative tale. Read full book review >
THE SANDMAN AND THE TURTLES by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 19, 1994

"A diverting fantasy from Morpurgo (Twist of Gold, 1993, etc.). (Fiction. 8-12)"
Michael spends the summer in Wales with his Uncle Rob, Aunt Eleri, Gramps, cousin Barry, and Barry's little sister, Polly. Read full book review >
TWIST OF GOLD by Michael Morpurgo
ADVENTURE
Released: March 1, 1993

"Still, what the story lacks in credibility it makes up for in suspense; even if it is unbelievable that the children find their mother alive and well in California, it's also the kind of happy surprise that will keep readers avidly turning the pages. (Fiction. 10-12)"
Sean O'Brien and his sister Annie leave their dying mother in famine-and plague-stricken County Cork to head for America. Read full book review >
WAITING FOR ANYA by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1991

"While harrowing journeys like these have become familiar, this particular story achieves special resonance in its depiction of the innocent and guilty living side by side, settling into uneasy alliances and learning the lessons of war that leave none untouched. (Fiction. 10-14)"
Lescun, France, during WWII is the setting for this latest work by the author of Mr. Nobody's Eyes (1990). Read full book review >
WAR HORSE by Michael Morpurgo
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 22, 1983

"Despite relentless English and German anti-war rumination, and Joey's own supra-equine understandings: some distinct glimpses of how it was to be a war-horse—in addition to that thundering melodrama. (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
In effect, a horse's eye view of the First World War—heart-rending in Black Beauty tradition, anti-war like All Quiet..., certainly unusual and dramatic. Read full book review >