From Goodreads: ” A stunning new classic from master storyteller Michael Morpurgo for readers of 9+, in the vein of PRIVATE PEACEFUL and THE BUTTERFLY LION.
This is a landmark new novel form the nation’s favourite storyteller, set in the unique landscape of the Camargue in the South of France during WW2. There, a young autistic boy lives on his parents’ farm among the salt flats, and the flamingos that live there. There are lots of things he doesn’t understand: but he does know how to heal animals. He loves routine, and music too: and every week he goes to market with his mother, to ride his special horse on the town carousel.
But then the Germans come, with their guns, and take the town. A soldier shoots a flamingo from the sky, and it falls to earth terribly injured. And even worse is to come: the carousel is damaged, the horses broken. For this vulnerable boy, everything is falling apart.
Only there’s a kind sergeant among the Germans – a man with a young boy of his own at home, a man who trained as a carpenter. Between them, perhaps boy and man can mend what has been broken – and maybe even the whole town…“
I borrowed ebook this via the Libby app from the library, and it was the perfect book for reading in short bursts, although when it got tense I really didn’t want to put it down.
The story is told from the beginning by a English student called Vincent who goes off to the Camargue in the South of France straight after finishing his O’Levels. He collapses whilst out walking and is rescued by a local man who takes him back to his farm when he’s nursed by to health by his companion. It’s whilst Vincent is recovering (from malaria) that the main story about the autistic boy and the flamingos is told.
I really liked this clever way of the telling the story through memories, it felt like proper storytelling, if that makes sense, a story within a story.
I loved getting to know Lorenzo, Kezia, their parents and the carousel. I felt like I was there in the south of France amongst the salt flats of the Camargue. It was a lovely story of friendship and family, but also a story of hardship, cruelty and danger.
It’s my second book by Michael Morpurgo, the first being Warhorse, and I’m definitely going to read more of them.
I highly recommend this if you enjoy stories set in World War 2.