On Michael Morpurgo’s website he has a few different ways to look at subgroups of his books, including categories such as Animal Stories and War Stories. In Morpurgo’s catalogue, however, there’s a lot of overlap in these two categories, and it does seem to work, both to make the different wars more accessible to the child reader (who hopefully hasn’t been through such experiences themself) and to show how wars do affect entire communities, not just soldiers.
The slightly ironic thing about this book is that it’s about an animal bred to fight, who because of war (in this case the Spanish Civil War) ends up with a very different fate. The narrator is the little boy of the family who bred these bulls for the bullring, who makes a pet of this one bull, who he names Paco, and cannot bear to see killed.
I feel I know far less than I should about this particular war and the history around it. More good non-fiction to look into! Speaking of which, while my booklists don’t always show it, I am reading a fair bit of non-fiction. Unlike the novels, however, which I tend to devour quite quickly, I generally have several works of non-fiction on the go at any one time, and read them by chapter, page, or even paragraph at a time, meaning they take far longer to come through as finished, and sometimes never do, if I get too distracted. Something to be working on, I think.
- Out of and Into Africa (kaet.wordpress.com)
- Media types (kaet.wordpress.com)
- Fiction for older children – reviews (guardian.co.uk)