Half a Man

halfamanWritten by Michael Morpurgo, Illustrated by Gemma O’Callaghan


“My nightmare would always seem to happen just a day or two before Grandpa came to stay. It was a visit I always dreaded.” Michael is both fascinated by and afraid of his grandfather, who has a taciturn manner and a disfigured, unsmiling face. Then, a summer spent on the Isles of Scilly, off the coast of Cornwall, enables Michael to see the man behind the burns and gives him the power to heal wounds that have long divided his family. — Front Cover

I could not write anything better than this for my review of Michael Morpurgo’s new fiction book, Half a Man. In just 47 pages, he has captured a poignant story that will not be easily forgotten. Gemma O’Callaghan’s illustrations perfectly complete the emotions with their stark color and simplicity. I loved this story and probably cried for 20 minutes after reading this book, it was so touching. At first, I thought I was reading a true experience from Mr. Morpurgo’s life. But it is fiction, yet fiction as only Michael Morpurgo can tell a story. For anyone who has dealt with the pain of broken family relationships, this little book of healing will touch your heart. Michael Morpurgo is a master storyteller.

Review by Renee Larsen, Hillside Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 3 and Up

Half a Man
Written by Michael Morpurgo, Illustrated by Gemma O’Callaghan
Candlewick Press
47 pages
Release Date: February 24, 2015

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