Absolutely Brilliant And Heartbreaking
Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo is a powerful and heartbreaking historical children’s novel. I happened upon it as my ten year old granddaughter was studying it at school. It appealed to both the historian and the fiction-lover in me.
Michael Morpurgo is a masterful story-teller. He writes Private Peaceful in the first person with the result that the story feels very personal to the reader. As we read, we are on a countdown through the night with the memories of seventeen year old Tommo.
We witness the desire to know that heaven exists. “I want to believe there’s a heaven… that death is not a full stop, and that we will all see one another again.” Surrounded by death on the battlefield, this is a hope to hold on to.
The Belgium Front was a wasteland where even God seemed absent. “He [God] has long since abandoned this place and all of us who live in it.” The faith of men was shaken. “I could no longer pretend to myself that I believed in a merciful god… I could believe only in the hell I was living in… it was man-made, not God-made.”
Time No Longer
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce is a delightful children’s classic. Its timeless appeal will win readers from all ages.
I had seen the BBC adaptation as a child, and more recently, the movie but I had never read the book until now. It is such a charming read. I loved it.
The novel straddles time as two very different worlds collide when the clock strikes thirteen.
A Timeless Classic
The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden is a powerful children’s novel for ages ten and over. It is a timeless classic for all.
The reader witnesses how hard it can be to fit in at school when you are seen as different. Children, especially girls, can be cruel but they do have the capacity to be kind too.
It is important to remember our heritage and to keep it alive.
Loss hurts, especially when it seems that everything you know has been taken from you. Seven year old Kizzy needs love, patience and care to heal. She needs people around her who understand her needs.
The Bonds Of Love
Five Children On The Western Front by Kate Saunders is a charming children’s historical tale. It follows on from E. Nesbit’s Five Children And It written a century earlier. This novel is set from 1914 onwards and two more children have been born into the original family. It is every bit as delightful and retains the same enchanting quality as the original.
The reader witnesses the love, care and compassion the family members have for each other. The Psammead is a charming but grumpy sand fairy who has a loving bond with the children. The adventures they have are charming.
The Psammead has always been rather selfish and full of himself. His powers are diminished until he learns to repent. We follow his journey through the war years as he softens and learns valuable lessons along the way.