Posts tagged survival

Michael Morpurgo Month – Shadow by Michael Morpurgo

November 2013 sees a month-long celebration of Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful stories, marking his 70th birthday this year.  We’re celebrating by highlighting some of our favourite Michael Morpurgo stories, including Shadow.

Life in Afghanistan is terrifying for Aman and his family and they want nothing more than to escape.  When a Springer Spaniel appears in the mouth of their cave, Aman nurses the dog back to health.  The dog is like a “friendly shadow” that stays with Aman and his family and so he decides to call her Shadow.  When life becomes more dangerous, Aman and his mother leave their home and escape, with Shadow leading the way.

One of the things I like about Michael Morpurgo’s books is that you often get two stories in one.  In Shadow you get the story of Aman and Shadow, but also the story of Matt and his grandfather who fight to free Aman from the refugee detention centre in England.  There are sad things that happen in the story but there are also plenty of good things that happen, like Aman finding Shadow.

This is the perfect book for anyone who likes animal stories, survival stories, and stories about people from other cultures.    Recommended for 9+         10 out of 10

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Plague by Michael Grant

The Gone Series by Michael Grant is one of the coolest series ever written.  It’s just a normal day in Perdido Beach when all the adults (anyone over the age of 14) suddenly disappears and the town is surrounded by an impenetrable wall.  You would think that life would be great without adults; you can do whatever you want, when you want to, and eat whatever you like.  But when you’re cut off from the rest of civilization, with a small supply of food and water, life starts to get worse.  If that isn’t bad enough, some of the kids in Perdido Beach start developing super powers, including levitation, invisibility, healing, and super-speed.  Two groups of kids form;  Sam leading the kids from Perdido Beach and Caine leading the kids of Coates Academy.   Their new home comes to be called The FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) and as time passes they have to deal with kids who suddenly disappear on their 15th birthday (Gone), a shrinking food supply (Hunger), the manipulation of The Darkness (Lies), and in the latest book, a terrible Plague.

In Plague the darkness has been foiled once again and the resurrected Drake has been contained. But the streets of Perdido Beach are far from safe, with a growing army of mutants fighting against the humans for power in the town. In a small room of a house near the edge of town, Little Pete lies ill on a bed. In his fevered dreams, he continues his battle with the hidden evil that seeks to use his power to bring about anarchy and destruction.  The situation in the FAYZ is the worst it’s been but can Sam actually save them all this time?

Plague is a really intense book with some parts that will leave you cringing.  I still can’t believe that the characters survived through their challenges.  One thing that stands out about this book in the series is that there is some sense of hope, which made me want to read the next book right away (I can’t say any more otherwise I’ll ruin the surprise).  I’m amazed at how Michael Grant keeps track of all his characters and how he comes up with new ways to test them in each book.  I’ll eagerly await the next in the series, Fear, to see what he has in store for Sam and the kids of the FAYZ.    The series is in the Young Adult section so they’re recommended for good readers aged 12 and up.      9 out of 10

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Brian’s Winter by Gary Paulsen

Cover imageOMG!!!

I got this totally awesome book at the library last week. It’s called Brian’s Winter. It’s about a boy who is flying over a wintery landscape and the pilot of the helicopter just goes pflt….dead!!! The controls give way and the helicopter goes down and down. Luckily,the helicopter’s safety kit has all the stuff he needs to survive in the wintery woods. Eventually,he finds a small line on the hill not very far away and he gets back home!!! But,while he was living there,he had to eat rabbits, foolbirds, deer, and moose.He uses stones and sticks to make arrows,and he uses the hides of the animals as snowshoes, jumpers,and boots. Sure, they look dumb, but they sure keep him warm.

By Rachel. 😀

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Close Encounters of the Wild Kind

Close Encounters of the Wild Kind by Sue Hamilton is a fierce new series of non-fiction books that I jumped out at me the other day when I was looking through our new books.  The covers grab your attention and with titles like Ambushed by a Cougar, Mauled by a Bear, Eaten by a Shark, and Swarmed by Bees you just want to pick them up and find out what they’re about.

Each of the books tells you a bit about the predator, what makes them such so dangerous, and gives you examples of when people have been attacked by them and how they survived.  They also have a very good glossary and index, bu the best thing about them is the fantastic photos throughout the book (lots of teeth-baring, growling and attack-ready poses).

Watch out for Close Encounters of the Wild Kind jumping off a library shelf near you!

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Michael Morpurgo has An Elephant in the Garden

Michael Morpurgo is one of my favourite authors.  I’ve read nearly all of his books and when a new one comes out I rush out to get it.  He is a fantastic storyteller and has written hundreds of stories about all sorts of things including World War 1 and 2, the legends of King Arthur, sailing around the world, cats on the Titanic, and whales swimming up the river Thames in London.  His stories draw you in and you really care about his characters, whether they are humans or animals.

Michael Morpurgo’s latest book is called An Elephant in the Garden and if I had to tell you what it’s about in one sentence I’d say it’s a story of survival.  Elizabeth, now an old woman, tells Karl and his mother of her escape from Dresden, in Germany, when it was bombed during World War 2.  They escape thanks to the elephant from her mother’s zoo who has been living in their garden.  Their journey is tough through the snow-covered landscape, especially with an elephant.  Will they make it to safety?  You’ll have to read this fantastic book to find out.

If you like books set during war-time, books about animals, or survival stories then this book is for you.  10 out of 10.  For readers 9+.

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