My Friend Walter – Michael Morpurgo

I’d never read anything by Michael Morpurgo. Obviously everyone knows him for Warhorse (which I haven’t read), I’d heard that his books were ‘a bit dark’ and had assumed that his writing was probably a bit old for my kids yet. I hadn’t appreciated that although he does write YA books, he also writes for younger children.

Tony steered Frankie towards him when he got fed up with the stuff she was bringing home from the library and intervened.

He has evidently been a hit because on our last library trip she took out three Michael Morpurgo books. One to read with Dad, one with me and one to read on her own.

A lot of his books are set in Devon, and I do get a bit of a thrill when reading about somewhere I know. One of the stories Tony was reading was set in Tiverton, and I’d hear snippets while I was in the other room and could envisage almost the exact road, the play park…
My Friend Walter is set on a farm near Honiton. It’s the story of Bess, who discovers that she’s a descendant of Sir Walter Raleigh when his ghost comes to live with her and how his efforts to right wrongs seem to cause more trouble in a world and time so alien to the one he knows.
One of the things I loved about this book is how the reader gets a history lesson without realising. I’ve learned loads about Walter Raleigh that I didn’t know. Frankie kept asking me, “Is it true?” and I’d have to go and look it up. What a great way to learn about history.

She cackled with glee when we reached the end and her verdict was, “Michael Morpurgo is a very good author.”
I have to agree.
I would also add that he is a master of cliffhanger chapter endings. There have been a number of late bedtimes when I’ve had to read on and had difficulty finding somewhere to stop.

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