Private Peaceful
HarperCollins Children's Books / 2004-08-02出版

Starred Review. Grade 7 Up–At 15, Thomas Peaceful, like many other English soldiers in World War I, is too young to fight, but he lies about his age. Now at the front in France with his older brother Charlie he stands a lonely nighttime vigil for reasons that are not explained until the book's end, watching the minutes tick by and reflecting on his past. Using first-person narration, Morpurgo draws readers into this young man's life, relating memories that are idyllic, sobering, and poignant. Tommo thinks upon the role he played in his father's accidental death, the adventures that he shared with Charlie, his relationship with his childhood friend Molly, and the experiences that he has had since entering the war. Finally, he describes how Charlie disobeyed a direct order to stay with him after he was wounded in action, fully aware of this decision's dire consequences. While this story is not based on any one individual, Morpurgo has personalized the British tactic of executing their own soldiers "for cowardice or desertion," memorializing these men without passing judgment. While readers see the events through Tommo's eyes, the author does not lose sight of the war's effects on the teen's friends and family. Reminders come in the form of letters from home, relationships with other soldiers, and observations of battles. This thoughtful novel touches on themes of humanity and duty, and features brilliant characters whose personal decisions have earned them their very own badges of honor.–Delia Fritz, Mercersburg Academy, PA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

*Starred Review* Gr. 7-12. In this World War I story, the terse and beautiful narrative of a young English soldier is as compelling about the world left behind as about the horrific daily details of trench warfare: the mud, rats, gas attacks, slaughter. At 15, Thomas lied about his age in order to follow his beloved older brother, Charlie, to fight in France. Now, nearly two years later, as Thomas sits waiting in the dark for the horror he knows will come at dawn, he remembers it all. Growing up as a poor farm boy in a happy family, he was always close to Charlie and to their brain-injured brother, Joe, a character Morpurgo draws with rare tenderness and truth. Thomas and Charlie even loved the same girl; Charley married her, but she writes to them both. Thomas also remembers British brutality, from the landlord who threatened the family with eviction if Charlie didn't enlist to the cruel army sergeant who tried to break Charlie's spirit. Charlie may be too perfect, almost a Christ figure, but it's Thomas' viewpoint of the brother he loves. Suspense builds right to the end, which is shocking, honest, and unforgettable. Be sure to add this to titles in the Read-alikes, "War to End All Wars" [BKL N 1 01]. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

His [Tommo's] journey from agricultural labourer to cannon fodder is movingly told...Michael Morpurgo is expert at getting through to his readers. He writes here about events that should never be forgotten nor forgiven, and does so most effectively. Independent ...full of warmth as well as grief, conveying vividly how precious it is to be alive... Sunday Times The best novel he's written since The Butterfly Lion. Times Deserved to last as an insight into the First World War in the same way as, say, The Silver Sword or Goodnight Mr Tom. Telegraph A poignant, elegiac novel. Daily Mail



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