We got this free with our NGKids subscription – it’s a thin paperback, beautifully illustrated with faded black and white drawings. As it’s a quick and easy read, both Big and I have read it, and Smallest likes looking at the pictures.
The story is not complex. A tale of a girl and her pet bear, the village she lives in and the visiting singer. All narrated by the schoolmaster, who looks on, slightly removed from the action. Obligatory unhappy childhood is provided by the girl not having a mother, and by her father being a grasping greedy unpleasant character.
It’s beautifully written as well as beautifully illustrated. And yet, I’m almost sorry I read it. Michael Morpurgo is indeed an excellent author, but he doesn’t really do happy. Even if there’s a bit of a happy ever after, there’s usually some sting in the tail. I’d forgotten that tbh, so this one caught me completely by surprise. It’s sudden and abrupt, but understated, and many children probably won’t have a problem with it at all. But Big and I both found it very sad. So you have been warned (but without spoilers. I don’t do spoilers.)
This was book 78
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