Thursday, April 8, 2021

In honor of National Library Week, a review of I Believe in Unicorns.

 Michael Murpugo is one of my favorite writers. His books are written for children, but adults will find that his stories have something for them as well. The stories make you pause, and think. They explore issues that are far-reaching and universal. 
   When I review a book that really touches me, I keep it and put it on my 'favorites' book shelf. Most of Michael Murpurgo's books are there. His book War Horse was turned into a film and a play.

I believe in Unicorns
Michael Morpurgo
Illustrator:  Gary Blythe 
For ages 7 to 10
Candlewick Press, 2005, 978-0763630508
Tomas is eight years old and more than anything he loves to roam the countryside having adventures and helping his father tend the beehives. He hates having to go to school and he despises books and stories. Books and stories belong in the school room and they certainly aren't any fun. So when his mother makes him go to the story hour at the library, Tomas is very annoyed and not in the least bit interested in listening to the librarian tell her stories.
   Tomas only has to listen to a little bit of the library lady's first story and he is completely entranced by her words. She sits on a lovely wooden unicorn reading to the children and telling them stories that she has made up. She tells them about her father who long ago, during a war, did his best to prevent evil people from burning books. Tomas finally begins to see that books are more than just pages of words and that they have a great deal to offer everyone, even him.
   When war arrives in Tomas' own peaceful valley Tomas and all the people in his village are suddenly faced with a terrible calamity - their library is set on fire by a falling bomb. Something has to be done to save the books and their beloved wooden unicorn. Soon everyone, even the children, are working hard to save the most valuable thing in the village.
   Many of us take books for granted, forgetting the many hours of pleasure that they have given us. In this book Michael Morpurgo reminds us that books and libraries are a treasure which should be fought for and defended. No one should be allowed to take away our books, for without our stories, poems, histories, biographies and scientific accounts our lives would be very empty indeed.
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