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|Half a man|
Author: Morpurgo, Michael
An unflinching and poignant tale of the physical and mental scars of war.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.40
Points: 1.0 Quiz: 169646
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 64799
Kirkus Reviews (+) (12/15/14)
School Library Journal (+) (01/01/15)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2015 Gr 3 Up—Morpurgo has penned an extraordinary little book of pain and triumph. It is a fictionalized tale but is based on the heroic work of Dr. McIndoe, a pioneering plastic surgeon who treated severely burned soldiers during World War II. The narrator is Michael, a young boy whose grandfather is severely disfigured from burns sustained during the war. His grandfather lives a solitary and misanthropic life and only visits family during the holidays. These are tense and frightening times for the young boy, due in no small part to his mother exhorting him to never stare at his grandfather's face, and it is always a relief when he leaves. When Michael begins spending summers with him on his remote island home, the two gradually form a loving and enduring bond. Michael now looks directly at his grandfather's face, and this simple gesture is a balm to a soldier who had considered himself "half a man." The text is lovingly illustrated by O'Callaghan in ink with a screen-printing technique that captures the story and the emotions brilliantly. The scenes where the grandfather describes his harrowing ordeal are made that much more potent with her haunting images. This title will resonate with a variety of readers, including children who are interested in World War II, fans of R.J. Palacio's Wonder (Random, 2012), and is an outstanding choice for reluctant readers. With our returning wounded warriors of today, this is a timely and superb addition to all collections and not to be missed.—Amy Nolan, St. Joseph Public Library, St. Joseph, MI - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/15/2015 Nightmares, unspoken questions, and unnatural silence: these are the things Michael, as a young boy, remembers about his grandfather. Michael is warned not to stare at his grandfather’s “forbidden face and hands,” which were disfigured in a fire during the war. But Michael cannot help himself, for he is curious to see that face and learn the story behind it. Over summers spent together in Sicily, Morpurgo (War Horse, 2007) traces Michael’s relationship with his grandfather from the time he is a young boy to the time he is grown. An adult Michael narrates in calm reflection, though his grandfather’s story, once it is fully revealed, is marked by harsh events and sadness. This story is simply told but emotionally dense, dealing in fear, anger, healing, and love. O’Callaghan’s saturated pen-and-ink illustrations reflect the magnitude of Morpurgo’s storytelling, creating full-page vistas and adding movement to the narrative through smaller action panels. Well suited for the more serious or contemplative reader, this is rich with positive insights into ways goodness can surpass one’s flaws. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.