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Sparrow: The Story of Joan of Arc Paperback – 29 Mar 2012
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Praise for Michael Morpurgo:
“Michael Morpurgo writes brilliantly about war and animals, conveying the big emotions without preaching.” – The Guardian
“Champagne quality over a wide range of subjects.” – Daily Telegraph
“There are few children’s writers as compelling as Michael Morpurgo.” – Daily Express
“Morpurgo’s gift is to make this long-ago world of danger and heartbreak accessible without ever patronising his young readers.” – Sunday Mercury
“Morpurgo, as always, is subtle and skillful, and incorporates social and moral issues into his writing without being self-righteous or detracting from the quality of the narrative”
Elizabeth Reilly – British Council
“The former children's laureate has the happy knack of speaking to both child and adult readers.” -The Guardian.
About the Author
Michael Morpurgo OBE is one of Britain’s best-loved writers for children. He has written over 100 books and won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Whitbread Award. His recent bestselling novels include ‘Shadow’, ‘A Medal for Leroy’ and ‘Little Manfred’.
His novel ‘War Horse’ has been successfully adapted as a West End and Broadway theatre play and a major film by Steven Spielberg. A former Children’s Laureate, Michael is also the co-founder, with his wife Clare, of the charity Farms for City Children.
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I hope that you buy this book and I also stongly recommend other Michael Morpurgo books to you as well.
Thank you for reading my review I hope that it has helped you.
Aimed at younger readers, this fictional combined with historical truth story is simply told and written in the usual engaging style that readers expect from Michael Morpurgo.
The story begins with the story of Eloise Hardy, a lonely girl who lives in Orleans. Eloise has always admired Joan greatly. She thinks of her as a guardian angel and longs to be like her. One day and feeling desperately upset after not being chosen to be Joan of Arc in the town parade, Eloise decides to skip school and spend the day by the river, just opposite the site of the Tourelles. As she drifts off to sleep in the sun, she hears a mysterious voice, just like Joan did all those years ago and the voice tells her the story of Joan of Arc.
I think anyone interested in history will enjoy this book and it's ideal to use as a teaching aid in primary schools. The story is moving and as expected, the ending brought a lump to my throat. If an adult is sharing this with a youngster, it may be worth preparing them for the sadness at the end.
Of course, historical sources do not tell us the innermost thoughts of any character, and Morpurgo wanted to offer that insight, so invented the sparrow of the title to accompany her everywhere and be party to her private moments. I found that this works extremely well: it does not appear odd because we are familiar with other modern writers (Rowling; Pullman for example) who give their characters animal companions, yet it also adds something of the extraordinary to Joan's story - such a creature is ambiguous: is her sparrow a witch's familiar or does it represent her soul?
Those who usually find it hard to read history will find the book easy to get into: the story starts with a modern girl facing a move to a strange new town and ends with her too, linking her with Joan in a way which allows us to see the legendary saint also as an ordinary person taken out of her surroundings and facing extraordinary challenges.
This is a book which can be read by anyone, not just children, interested in finding out more about Joan. Try it!
In all other respects I enjoyed the story.
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I hope you enjoyed reading this review
I recommend it for years 7 over.