Friend or Foe is a gripping World War II story from War Horse author and former Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo. Evacuated from London, David and Tucky feel like the war is a long way away from their new life in the countryside.
Then one night the skyline of the moor is lit up with gun flashes, and the distant crump of bombing miles away brings the war back to them and shatters their new-found peace.
When a German bomber crashes, the boys feel they should hate the airmen inside.
But one of them saves David's life . . . In the tradition of Goodnight Mr Tom, Carrie's War, and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Friend or Foe is a novel that takes children to the heart of a tumultuous period in history. From the author of War Horse (now a major motion picture directed by Steven Spielberg) comes a stunning children's story - loved by kids, teachers and parents alike.
Michael Morpurgo has written more than forty books and won the Whitbread Award, the Smarties Award, the Circle of Gold Award, the Children's Book Award and has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal four times.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 128 pages, black & white illustrations
- Publisher: Egmont UK Ltd
- Publication Date: 06/08/2007
- Category: Adventure
- ISBN: 9781405233378
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Review by passion4reading
David and Tucky are two small boys from London who get evacuated to Devon along with the rest of their school during WWII. Both get taken in by a kindly farmer and his wife and quickly make friends with the resident sheepdog, Jip. At the village school the boys remain outsiders, and when they spot a German bomber about to crash on the moor, nobody but their hosts believes them. Eventually the search is called off, and David and Tucky decide to look for it off their own bat. Just as the boys are crossing a stream on their way back to the farm, David loses his footing and one of the German airmen, in hiding up until then, saves his life.I love Michael Morpurgo's writing, it is so understated yet manages to convey so much with only a few words: the deprivation faced by the people in London, especially David and his widowed mother; the love for her son that is apparent (to another mother) in the ritual of a daily early-morning apple; the heartache caused by the impending separation; the strong bond that develops between the two children as they struggle to make friends in the village school, being regarded as 'townies' and outsiders; and the inner conflict taking place inside the boys, especially David, as they deceive their hosts and help the two German airmen. In all his books I've come across so far, Morpurgo speaks to the child (irrelevant if the child is the actual reader or if it's read by an adult), and he always treats them as grown-ups, as someone who has opinions that are worth hearing, challenging their emotional involvement in the process of reading. Unfortunately the last chapter felt a bit rushed in my opinion, and the thoughts of the adults remained largely unexplored; with such a thought-provoking subject matter I would have welcomed a little more discussion of the story's morality as seen by the farmer, his French wife or the Home Guard officer, for instance.A tale for children about ambivalence created by conflict, and how important it is to see the human being underneath the enemy's uniform, it manages to be thought-provoking without being too moralistic.