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Customer reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

on 21 January 2013
This story is a tale that would fit comfortably into the range of Animal Stories by Ladybird Books which appeared in the 1950's. It is written by Michael Morpurgo who is best known for writing War Horse and for co-founding Farms for City Children. It is at one of the three farms that are run by this educational charity, Nethercott, that this story is mainly set.
It tells of an urban boy, Sam, who comes on a week's residential visit with his class and teacher to Nethercott in Devon where he learns to muck out sheds, collect eggs, watch cows being milked, clear fields of stones and let out ducks, geese and hens.
It was a culture shock for a lad from a tower block and when he is at a livestock market in Hatherleigh he decides to buy a duck and save it from a farmer's dinner plate. He keeps it hidden from his teacher and smuggles it back home to give as a present to his grandfather. As a flat is not a sensible place to keep it, the duck is re-located to St James' Park where it could be fed and visited every day.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Keith Bowen but is fairly slight and many may prefer the emotional Schools Broadcast from the early 1990's which featured Frank Windsor as Sam's grandfather. This version, like the Ladybird Books, relies a great deal on the illustrations whereas the broadcast version is more substantial and conveys more humour and pathos.
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