Monday, 13 May 2013

"Tales from Mudpuddle Farm" - Michael Morpurgo's Animal Fun!

Michael Morpurgo has been writing stories for over thirty years, with the likes of Kensuke's Kingdom, Private Peaceful and of course, War Horse (published in 1982, it's finally a mega-hit, thanks to the recent success of the National Theatre production, which in turn paved the way for the Spielberg film last year). A good many of his most successful books fit into three categories: animal books, war books, and animals at war books. Well, it's safe to say that these books fall into the first category. Morpurgo's Mudpuddle Farm stars a whole range of farm animals in a series that children aged around 4-7 will really enjoy. And for those of you that are familiar with Michael Morpurgo's work, this may be a surprise... it's actually quite funny!

Gone are the tales of surviving adversity (am I being a tad stereotypical here?). Instead, there are short chapter-stories such as And Pigs Might Fly!, where Pintsize the piglet decides he wants to fly like a bird. When the other animals get sick of having to save him from his near-lethal attempts to get airborne, they decide to take matters into their own hands - um, paws - um, hooves - um, trotters. Talons. Wings? Whatever. How can they stop Pintsize from getting himself killed - or getting themselves squashed by him? Or there's Albertine Goose Queen, (which we got free from McDonald's, in a growing trend of theirs of giving away books in Happy Meals; which makes it harder to dislike them!) which features a fox loose on the farm. But when he needs help hiding from a hunt, should Albertine the goose trust him, or is this another cunning fox trick?
Copyright Shoo Rayner

The stories are warm, humorous, very child friendly, and occasionally quirky in a rather British way, and all of this is aided by Shoo Rayner's funny, slightly manic illustrations. There's a good few to choose from, so if your kids have tried the younger Dick King Smith books, or you want a break from Animal Ark and the like, then these are well worth checking out!

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