Monday, July 16, 2012

Out of the Ashes by Michael Morpurgo

This is one of the most powerfully emotional children's  books I have read.It is simply told but really delivers a powerful blow. I had heard of foot and mouth disease but until I read this novel had not really understood the implications it causes for whole communities and the heart break it brings to each farming family watching their life's work destroyed before their eyes.  This is Becky Morley's story of how she and her family coped with losing all that was precious to them over a few short months, and of her sudden awareness that even her very strong dependable dad cannot cope with such a soul destroying experience. It is told through a diary she received as a thirteenth birthday present from her dad. It tracks the family's days before the outbreak, during the outbreak, until it reaches it heart wrenching conclusion. But, it is also a book about hope and the support that communities give in such times of hardship.  I have always appreciated the illustrative powers of Michel Foreman and his illustrations really do justice to this amazing story. I would also recommend his novels War Horse and Butterfly Lion.

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