Title: In the Mouth of the Wolf
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Genre: Children’s Fiction (WW2)
Age Range: 9+
From master storyteller Michael Morpurgo and award-winning artist Barroux comes a true story of bravery, sadness and hope, set against the backdrop of World War Two.
A true story of two brothers and the war that changed everything.
Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful storytelling and Barroux’s stunning artwork combine to tell the true story of Michael’s uncles during World War Two.
Francis and Pieter are brothers. As shadow of one war lingers, and the rumbles of another approach, the brothers argue. Francis is a fierce pacifist, while Pieter signs up to fight. What happens next will change the course of Francis’s life forever . . . and throw him into the mouth of the wolf.
Source: ARC from Egmont Publishing via Amazon Vine
This was another excellent story by Michael Morpurgo, recreating the hidden struggle of the French Resistance in a short but moving account of his Uncle Francis’ fight during World War Two.
On the evening following Francis’ 90th birthday, deep in rural France, he lies awake unable to sleep, missing all the people in his life who are no longer there. So he begins to talk to them, each in turn. Starting with his father and moving through his family and friends, the story retraces Francis’ steps as he first chooses not to fight – because he is a pacifist – before changing events lead him into his own version of the war. The one-sided conversations are never boring, helping to keep the story tightly focused, so that even though it is a short, fairly quick read, it’s also powerful and moving.
The chapters dealing with the Resistance and the role Francis played showed how truly brave this man was, as were those who fought alongside him. His friend Christine was an incredible lady, and I’m glad this story brought attention to her enormous courage, as well as the others who fought alongside Francis.
Throughout it all, Barroux’s illustrations perfectly capture the mood of the book, in black and white and watery shades of grey. They will not only help keep the attention of younger readers, but they also add to the dreamy quality of Francis’ thoughts.
In all, another excellent read, especially for children who have an interest in history and the lesser known sides of war. And it’s pretty good for adults too.