Our Jacko by Sir Michael Morpurgo – Book Review

Our Jacko by Sir Michael Morpurgo – Book Review

Our Jacko by Michael Morpurgo

Our Jacko

Author – Sir Michael Morpurgo
Illustrator – David Gentleman
Publisher – Walker Books
Pages – 64
Released – 1st November 2018
ISBN-13 – 978-1406366136
Format – ebook, hardcover
Reviewer – Stacey
Rating – 5 Stars
I received a free copy of this book
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“This war is a nightmare that one day I shall wake from and then forget. And if I don’t wake, then you shall never know. I don’t want you ever to know.”

No one seems to know where the scruffy tin hat came from – just that it is very old, from some war or other long ago. To young Michael and his family it has its uses today: as a child’s toy, a feeding bowl for the hens, a hanging basket… Then Michael discovers that it belonged to his great-great-grandfather, “Our Jacko”, who lost his life at Ypres in 1915.

As the boy digs deeper, he finds the young soldier’s diary and learns more about his forgotten ancestor – husband, father, poet, actor – who died so tragically young. And it becomes clear exactly how Our Jacko should be commemorated.

New one review witch 2017

Brothers Michael and Otto are very different indeed. Otto, the older of the two understands all about war and how and why it happens. Michael is a complete pacifist and believes that war is never the answer and only wants peace.

As they were growing up a tin hat with a bullet hole in the front was Otto’s favourite item, he wore it everywhere. Michael despised the hat and even when it became a holder for chicken feed and then a flower basket, he still didn’t like what it represented.

One day Michael’s class start learning about the war and a trip to Ypres, Belgium is planned. The class are asked to find out if they had any ancestors who fought in the war, that’s when the boys discover that the hat belonged to their Great-Great Grandfather Lieutenant Jack Morris (Jacko) who lost his life in battle in 1915 in Ypres. They also discover an old suitcase of Jacko’s things too, including his little notebook filled with letters and poems.

Our Jacko is a beautiful, poignant book. Although this is a children’s book, I got quite emotional reading it and believe me I rarely get emotional when reading a book but this one really hit me. The story is just stunning and the illustrations complement Sir Michael Morpurgo’s words perfectly. The book is a mixture of story, poems and letters written home and with this year being the centenary of World War One, I feel that this makes the book even more powerful.

The brothers are both lovely children and it was nice to see them age through the book and for Michael who still believes in peace as he ages to also want to find out about his relative and try to understand what happened during the war and learn that it is a valuable part of history that you can’t just block out.

It is a book that makes you stop and think about what the people who lived through the Two World Wars went through and about those who fought in them and the families they left behind. It is a very heart-felt book and one I believe all children (and adults) should read, to learn about that period in history through Jacko’s personal story.

Reviewed by Stacey

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About the Author

Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo is the author of many books for children, five of which have been made into films. He also writes his own screenplays and libretti for opera.

Born in St Albans, Hertfordshire, in 1943, he was evacuated to Cumberland during the last years of the war, then returned to London, moving later to Essex. After a brief and unsuccessful spell in the army, he took up teaching and started to write. He left teaching after ten years in order to set up ‘Farms for City Children’ with his wife. They have three farms in Devon, Wales and Gloucestershire, open to inner city school children who come to stay and work with the animals.

In 1999 this work was publicly recognised when he and his wife were awarded an MBE for services to youth. He is also a father and grandfather, so children have always played a large part in his life. Every year he and his family spend time in the Scilly Isles, the setting for three of his books.

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