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SINGING FOR MRS. PETTIGREW by Michael Morpurgo

SINGING FOR MRS. PETTIGREW

Stories and Essays from a Writing Life

By Michael Morpurgo (Author) , Peter Bailey (Illustrator)

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3624-1
Publisher: Candlewick

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)