Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Michael Morpurgo's Shadow - A Review and A Giveaway


Michael Morpurgo is one of the UK’s most loved authors, having written over 140 books in a career spanning over 40 years, with numerous accolades to his name, including The Children’s Book Award for a record fourth time last year for his novel An Eagle in the Snow.  

Many of his novels have been adapted into stage shows and several of his titles have been made into films, most famously the Steven Spielberg-directed War Horse, which we were delighted to discover is on tour at Bristol so we're planning to see it over half term. 


Lots of Michael’s most popular books feature stories of animals and this autumn Harper Collins are highlighting some of his most loved novels, to coincide with World Animal Day.

As you can see from Ruby's bedtime reading stash, he's a firm favourite in our house and we were thrilled to be asked to take part in this blog tour.  We're looking today at his novel Shadow, a particular favourite of Ruby's - I think she must have read it 5 or 6 times now.



The old adage of never judging a book by its cover doesn't seem to ring true for children, and she ABSOLUTELY initially chose to read it based purely on the front cover illustration showing Shadow the Springer Spaniel, as we too have a Springer.  So there was an instant hook and connection.  From there she has gone on to read many more of his books whether that be at home or at school.

So, over to Ruby to explain more about the book...

What is the book about?

It is about Matt's friend, a boy called Aman who is from Afghanistan.  He desperately wanted to come to England with his mother to escape the war there.  While hiding in a cave, an injured dog turns up. Aman helps it to get better and they form a strong friendship and the story is about that bond and their journey to safety.  But on finally arriving in England, they find that they may not be able to stay so are sent to a detention centre.

Which is your favourite character in the book?

The dog Shadow because I have a dog the same and Shadow is loyal, kind and brave.

What did you like best about the book?

I liked the story that Aman told because although it's fiction, it is a story that could have really happened to someone.  I could imagine it happening because it was so well written.


From a personal perspective, I think this book really explored the current issues around conflict, the refugee crisis and the treatment of asylum seekers, at a level that children can understand.  Often these issues may be picked up when the news is on at home, or headlines from a paper, and it's such a complex and emotional issue as a parent it is one I have difficulty explaining. Morpurgo humanises the plight with his characters and makes it much more accessible for younger readers to get an understanding of some of these modern issues.  Another connection for us is that much of the story is set at Yarl's Wood detention centre which is very close to where we lived.  Although thankfully they no longer house children detainees there now, the centre has been plagued with controversy since it opened in 2001.

I would thoroughly recommend this book to children aged 9+, those who are interested in animals will be hooked, and if, like my daughter your child is someone who wouldn't ordinarily be drawn to a book about war, then this is a great introduction and opens up conversations about topical issues such as the plight of refugees and the way they are treated both in their own countries, and once they arrive  at a 'safe' European country.

If you want to explore further, there are some activity sheets available here.

I'm delighted to say, that I have a copy of the book Shadow, signed by Michael Morpurgo himself to give away to one lucky reader.  To enter, simply complete the rafflecopter below, and don't forget to check out the #MorpurgosAnimals hashtag on social media where you'll find all the other blog posts in the book tour and a chance to win lots of other signed books.

Entrants must be resident in the UK.  One winner will be chosen at random and the prize will be sent directly from the publisher.  Closing date is midnight on Tuesday 31 October 2017.

This post is a featured post in collaboration with Harper Collins.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

87 comments:

  1. It's hard to choose a favourite but we love Zebras

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  2. My daughter is a dog lover like me!

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  3. We have cats and fish, I think they like the fish best!

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  4. My daughter loves dolphins.

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  5. This sounds like such a great book. My son is a huge fan of his too, but we don't have this one. Must get this for Christmas xx

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  6. My daughter loves dogs.

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  7. My daughter loves flamingos

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  8. A cat called Bella but she's very very shy

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  9. we have four guinea pigs, chucky, hubble rocky and jupiter

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  10. My son says his favourite animal is a hedgehog x

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  11. WE HAVE WILD PARROTS(SIX) IN AREA THEY FLY IN AND OUT OF GARDEN WE FEED THEM THE KIDS GIVE THEM NAMES

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  12. Our dog is her best friend, they adore each other!

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  13. 3 mice. The one called Spot is his favourite

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  14. My daughter loves horses and my son loves cows!

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  15. We are big cat fans in this house, we have 5!

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  16. My daughter loves dolphins - leanne w

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  17. Dean T (@ribbons1978)20 October, 2017 23:21

    Hedgehogs of all things

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  18. Yes they have there own bearded dragon raised from egg and now five

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  19. We love dogs. A walk to the park can take a long time stopping to admire them!

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  20. We have guinea pigs called Jovie and Phyllis which our girls love. we also LOVE these books! x

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  21. mine likes elephants and llamas

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  22. I always loved dogs as a kid, but loved my pet bird Barney.

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  23. they love giraffes and love going to the safari zoo to see them

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  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  25. We don't have pets but if we have one it would be a dog.

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  26. Our lovely golden labrador!

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  27. My son has a guinea pig called Teddy.

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  28. The children all love cats as we re a multicat household.

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  29. My son has never had a pet, but loves most animals. He has a close bond with my Sister's dog but would love a snake or tarantula.

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  30. Yes, my son loves our cat, Minnie.

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  31. My little fella hardly goes anywhere without the two favourite animals in his life - our cute little pooch and his cuddly penguin ;)

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  32. My Daughter loves our cats but her favourite animal would be a unicorn! (if they were real!)

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  33. Yes - dogs are the favourite animal here, at the moment anyway!

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  34. He's obsessed by turtles.

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  35. My daughter loves her pet guinea pigs.

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  36. Fond of dogs.

    Rachel Craig

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  37. We had a lovely cat called Frank but he passed away last year xx

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  38. we have two cats Bobby and Patch, which my daughter loves. she keeps badgering me fro a puppy but its not gonna happen!

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  39. We have a house full of Basset Hounds

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  40. My children, grandchildren and me are all dog lovers :)

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  41. We have 2 cats and my son loves them.

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  42. We are all big cat lovers in our house.

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  43. we are getting a puppy in two weeks.

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  44. My daughter loves cats...she has to stop and pet them whenever we see one :)

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  45. My grandchildren love dogs and long for one of their own!

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  46. my childs fav animal is a dog wolf close second

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  47. My daughter is penguin crazy!! She loves them!

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  48. My entire family are animal nutters...my daughter however has amazing empathy and love for our oldest dog Maisie..they've been bestest buddies since Beth was just 2 years old ❤️

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  49. Fiona Johnstone30 October, 2017 18:50

    My son adores our cat Humphrey

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  50. My little niece loves dogs 🐶 and Trudy is her favourite.

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  51. My eldest loves all animals but especially rats (she has 3) & the youngest loves dogs, again we have 3

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  52. My nephew has 2 cats, so they are his favourite.

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  53. My daughter is crazy about wolves. Her bedroom is covered with pictures of them!

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