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4.6 out of 5 stars67
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Yet another cracker from Michael Morpurgo - he can do no wrong in my eyes. Set in a small farming village in the mountains on the border of France and Spain. The village has recently been occupied by German soldiers and all the villagers are under a strict curfew. Jo's father has been away, held as a prisoner of war for the last four years and Jo lives with his mother, siblings and grandfather.
Whilst out herding the sheep Jo stumbles across a big secret - an old Widow just outside the village is harbouring her Jewish son in law and a group of young Jewish children. The aim is to get them over the border to Spain, and safety.

Michael Morpurgo's characters are wonderfully written, although he does not hide the facts of the horrors of war time, he does manage to make the reader aware that although the Germans are the enemy, they too are human with their own tragedies in life.
This is an excellent story, both educational and exciting too.
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on 31 May 2010
A book to help understand the problems of those who lived through the war - from both sides. This book has it all - intrigue, tension, adventure, thoughtfulness, charity. Read it before you hand it on to the person you bought it for.
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on 31 August 2001
I really enjoyed this exciting and moving book about a boy who becomes involved with the French resistance and helps young Jewish children escape over the mountains to Spain. It is a story of courage, friendship and strength and has a sad and happy ending. It is a story to remember and read time and time again.
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on 14 November 2012
I am in year 8 now and I read this book during the summer while on holiday. I extremely enjoyed it and would really recommend it to anyone but the level is mostly suited for yr 5-8.

This book is about a little village located in France in the Second World War set in the mountains near the border of Spain. A boy named Joe discovers a secret about a Jew who is living with the black widow on the top of the hill hidden by the forest while looking after the sheep because his father is at war.

Smuggling Jewish kids from all around Europe over the border to the safety of Spain is a tricky task in itself without German guards patrolling. However, when the German soldiers move in to guard the village and the border it becomes ever more risky. Will they get caught? If they do, the consequences could be fatal.

A very compelling and touching story about the harsh lives for the Jews in the war. It portrays the story of life and there is suspense around every corner. A emotional tale for those who like a book that pull your heart strings and brim a tear. This is a must read!!!
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on 7 March 2010
My kids loved it. They love every book he's written. My son was inspired to write stories after reading books by this author
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on 27 May 2011
I got this book out at the library and thought it looked quite interesting. I have read quite a few books by Michael Morpurgo and have enjoyed most of them. I was gripped right till the end with the book, it was very well written and I really felt how the characters must be feeling. My favourite character was Hubert, who seemed very nice and a bit like Big Joe in Morpurgo's book Private, Peaceful. I enjoyed the book but I was very disappointed with the ending. I really thought more should've happened at the end and I was very upset about what happened to Hubert. But overall the book was very good!
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on 15 May 2013
A truly beautiful and moving book about a young boy who helps a widow and her Jewish son-in-law save Jewish children.

It shows that not all German soldiers were cruel or unkind. Michael Morpurgo manages to bring beauty into a very awful and dangerous situation. There is a German corporal who takes Jo off to hunt for eagles. He also gives Hubert (autistic?) his spare pair of binoculars.

It shows how villagers were prepared to sacrifice their own lives to save those of innocent children.

I'm a Michael Morpurgo fan and aiming to read all his books. They may be written for a younger age group, but are so deep and spiritual almost, that I think jaded adults should be reading them to restore their souls and the magic of good conquering evil, even if, (as he manages to portray) sometimes, bad things still happen.
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on 7 August 2014
This story is based in a small farming village in France near the boarder of Spain, as well as being set during the time when Germany and Britain fought a deadly war against each other in World War 2. Also Jewish children are being smuggled away from the Nazi's and safely into Spain.
Germany soon send soldiers to guard the boarder to prevent the Jewish children escaping and if they spotted anyone helping them the German solders would shoot them.There's even been a strict curfew rule added that no one is permitted to be outside their house after 9:00pm.
The Jewish people are still resilient to escape over the boarder safely into Spain but they face several consequences and hardships along the way.
I advise this book to be read by children 9+.
This is another heartbreaking adventurous novel by Michael Morpurgo.
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on 11 July 2012
This is the first Morpurgo book I've read and I am thoroughly enjoying it, if that's the right word to use about a book telling the story of Jewish children escaping from occupied France. The characters are well drawn, including the Germans, who are not all 'monsters'. I haven't quite finished it, but I'm hoping for some sort of happy ending! I haven't given five stars because there are some printing and grammatical errors, which surprises me - I wonder if this is an early version of the book which hadn't been properly proofread before going to Kindle?
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on 1 December 2011
I bought this with other Michael Morpurgo books as presents for boys between 11 and 13.
Very pleased with them all they make excellent reading even for adults
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