Flamingo Boy
A stunning new classic from master storyteller Michael Morpurgo for readers of 9+, in the vein of PRIVATE PEACEFUL and THE BUTTERFLY LIONThis is a landmark new novel form the nation's favourite storyteller, set in the unique landscape of the Camargue in the South of France during WW2. There, a young autistic boy lives on his parents' farm among the salt flats, and the flamingos that live there. There are lots of things he doesn't understand: but he does know how to heal animals. He loves routine, and music too: and every week he goes to market with his mother, to ride his special horse on the town carousel.But then the Germans come, with their guns, and take the town. A soldier shoots a flamingo from the sky, and it falls to earth terribly injured. And even worse is to come: the carousel is damaged, the horses broken. For this vulnerable boy, everything is falling apart.Only there's a kind sergeant among the Germans – a man with a young boy of his own at home, a man who trained as a carpenter. Between them, perhaps boy and man can mend what has been broken – and maybe even the whole town…

Flamingo Boy Details

TitleFlamingo Boy
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 19th, 2018
PublisherHarperCollins GB
ISBN-139780008134648
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, War, World War II, Relationships

Flamingo Boy Review

  • James
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Flamingo Boy’ (2018) is the latest novel from Michael Morpurgo and to some extent appears ostensibly to be exploring similar themes and territory as well as being set against a similar backdrop to many of his previous novels – a fairly typical WWII setting here along with Morpurgo’s seemingly ever present horses. Having said that, ‘Flamingo Boy’ is certainly not a re-tread of Morpurgo’s’ other novels and the familiar-ish setting is by no means to the detriment of this new story. ‘Flamingo Boy’ ‘Flamingo Boy’ (2018) is the latest novel from Michael Morpurgo and to some extent appears ostensibly to be exploring similar themes and territory as well as being set against a similar backdrop to many of his previous novels – a fairly typical WWII setting here along with Morpurgo’s seemingly ever present horses. Having said that, ‘Flamingo Boy’ is certainly not a re-tread of Morpurgo’s’ other novels and the familiar-ish setting is by no means to the detriment of this new story. ‘Flamingo Boy’ is located overwhelmingly in Northern France, more specifically the Camargue, and tells the story of how Vincent, our storyteller within a story, finds himself there – how he meets the eponymous ‘Flamingo Boy’ and the story which Vincent is told whilst there.Much of the book is about differentness or otherness – about acceptance, rejection, understanding or lack thereof and is inspired at least in part by Morpurgo’s own autistic grandson. ‘Flamingo Boy’ is essentially about embracing and understanding otherness, whether it be a disability such as autism or ethnic differences – in this case Roma or Romani. Morpurgo also alludes here to the complex, selective, transient and sometimes fickle nature of racism and bigotry. A recurring theme of Morpurgo’s is present here also – the very human face of war and the simple assertion that there are ‘good’ people on both sides in a war; people who can be trusted despite being ostensibly the ‘enemy’. As with many of Michael Morpurgo’s novels, this is an affecting, compelling and engaging story – simply and movingly told. Morpurgo is at heart a storyteller – as such, there is nothing here that feels extraneous and the momentum is successfully maintained throughout.Whilst not quite Morpurgo at his finest (War Horse, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea et al) ‘Flamingo Boy’ is nevertheless a very strong story told with customary workmanlike efficiency and skill through the prolific pen of former ‘Children’s Laureate’ Michael Morpurgo.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Vintage Morpugo! Loved every chapter, every character, and after all the trials and tribulations of wartime France, a happy ending. A splendid binge-read. OK, I'm somewhat older than the "9-plus" age groups it is intended for, but I'll read anything Morpugo writes. His "Private Peaceful" helped me to understand my late uncle's condition of shell-shock (these days called PTSD). Each re-read of that book brings me to tears.
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  • Julia Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Flamingo Boy by Michael Morpurgo is a delightful historical children's novel that can be enjoyed by all ages. I am a granny and really enjoyed it.Michael Morpurgo weaves a wonderful tale beginning in 1982, he then transports the reader back to the occupied south of France during World War II. The reader gets caught up in the war as the peaceful countryside is taken over by the Nazis.There is the theme of trust. Not all Nazis were evil. They all wore uniforms but underneath some were men and not Flamingo Boy by Michael Morpurgo is a delightful historical children's novel that can be enjoyed by all ages. I am a granny and really enjoyed it.Michael Morpurgo weaves a wonderful tale beginning in 1982, he then transports the reader back to the occupied south of France during World War II. The reader gets caught up in the war as the peaceful countryside is taken over by the Nazis.There is the theme of trust. Not all Nazis were evil. They all wore uniforms but underneath some were men and not monsters. "In this uniform, I am Caporal Willi Brenner. Under this uniform, I am Herr Willi Brenner, husband, father and Lehrer."The novel revolves around two children in the 1940's. One has special needs. It sounded like autism to me. He finds trusting hard but his instincts are key. If he likes you, you receive "an open-hearted smile, a smile of complete trust."Children (and adults) with special needs may have an affinity with animals. The reader sees an animal whisperer who has patience, love and care. "He puts his hands on them, breathes on them and they get better."There is a carousel in the story. This can be seen as a motif for French lives. "What looks broken can always be mended." Lives disrupted by the Nazis would one day be restored.In spite of occupation, there is a calmness to the story. I think this is due to the tranquil setting and the personalities that radiate love. In the midst of war, there is an "oasis of peace."When all seems hopeless, there is still prayer. "I kept praying... more in hope than in faith." The day that hope dies is the day that all will seem lost. We must keep hope alive.I really loved Flamingo Boy. It is a story of love, of friendship, of hope in the midst of adversity and of a beautiful bond with animals. There is a wonderful gentle soul who is not sullied by the world and it is beautiful to witness.An absolute joy to read.I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
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  • Vee ♔Under Mountain Books♔
    January 1, 1970
    Michael Morpurgo truly is an incredible writer, he can find stories in places in history that have been done a thousand times and make them feel completely new and different. When I saw that he had a book releasing this year I hit request immediately, sure that a story about a young autistic boy who lives on a farm during occupied France would be incredible.It takes a lot for me to be mad at a book but yeah, I'm pretty mad at this book. Whoever wrote the blurb likely didn't read the book. The st Michael Morpurgo truly is an incredible writer, he can find stories in places in history that have been done a thousand times and make them feel completely new and different. When I saw that he had a book releasing this year I hit request immediately, sure that a story about a young autistic boy who lives on a farm during occupied France would be incredible.It takes a lot for me to be mad at a book but yeah, I'm pretty mad at this book. Whoever wrote the blurb likely didn't read the book. The story is told by Vincent, when he is older. He tells of when he was young and travelled to France after nearly being smacked on the skull by a painting, where he met Kazia and Lorenzo. Then, Kazia tells him of when she was young and the story we hear in the blurb, about the flamingos and the carousel and what happened when the Germans came to town. "Lorenzo loved everything to be the same, even goodbyes. Goodbyes, hellos, sausages and songs, he loved what he knew, never wanted anything to be different. The trouble is that things do change, whether we like it or not. And for Lorenzo any change was always difficult. It still is sometimes." To tell a story with so many layers like that is a truly bizarre choice and honestly, I'd have cut Vincent out entirely. It should have just been told from Kazia's point of view, especially as by having the older versions of her and Lorenzo meant that there was no suspense or fear for them when the Germans came to their town. I spent the majority of the book worried about a carousel at most. The idea of the story is fantastic, we need more diverse characters and choosing a gypsy girl and an autistic boy as our central characters was such a great idea, especially as they're in an environment we don't often see in books, with views we almost never read about. Unfortunately this felt like he had an idea but couldn't really be bothered to spend the time to perfect it, so just sent out the first draft.Blog | Facebook | Twitter
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    This was the first new Michael Morpurgo book which I've read in years and it didn't disappoint.I loved the book's setting of the Camargue, and the story's bursting at the seams with atmosphere - from the ever-present flamingos, horses and bulls to the relentless mistral, to the charming tune of 'Sur le Pont d'Avignon.'I thought the friendship between Lorenzo and Kezia was extremely touching and I loved how they almost instantly seemed to understand one another. My favourite scene was one in whic This was the first new Michael Morpurgo book which I've read in years and it didn't disappoint.I loved the book's setting of the Camargue, and the story's bursting at the seams with atmosphere - from the ever-present flamingos, horses and bulls to the relentless mistral, to the charming tune of 'Sur le Pont d'Avignon.'I thought the friendship between Lorenzo and Kezia was extremely touching and I loved how they almost instantly seemed to understand one another. My favourite scene was one in which Lorenzo showed off his own personal 'Camelot' and made Kezia his Guinevere. I also thought it was interesting that we got a Nazi character who was actually sympathetic and didn't necessarily believe in the system he was working for. As always I have a couple of minor gripes. For example, the story bookends in the perspective of a young man called Vincent and to me, his parts felt a bit superfluous. I think the story would have been just as good if not stronger if told exclusively from Kezia's perspective. Also I thought that Lorenzo got away with antagonising the Nazi soldiers a few too many times. I know it's a children's book and you can't reflect all of life's grim realities but...I don't know, it didn't quite sit right with me.On the whole however, the book was beautifully written, it was a charming story with likable characters. In my opinion, it would also make a wonderful film or televised drama.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Set against the backdrop of WWII, Michael Morpurgo weaves a tale of trust, commitment, acceptance and love. A truly lovely story that warms the heart of all ages.Beginning in 1982, 18 year-old Vincent sets off to the south of France to visit the beach Van Gough painted in the picture that’s hung in his bedroom. Whilst there, events lead him to meet Kezia and Renzo, a man who has autism; and Vincent hears, through Kezia’s retelling, how they dealt with and overcame Nazi occupation in their idylli Set against the backdrop of WWII, Michael Morpurgo weaves a tale of trust, commitment, acceptance and love. A truly lovely story that warms the heart of all ages.Beginning in 1982, 18 year-old Vincent sets off to the south of France to visit the beach Van Gough painted in the picture that’s hung in his bedroom. Whilst there, events lead him to meet Kezia and Renzo, a man who has autism; and Vincent hears, through Kezia’s retelling, how they dealt with and overcame Nazi occupation in their idyllic town. In the generations since both World Wars, it has become commonplace to assume that all German soldiers were evil. However, with the character of Willi Brenner (“Capo”), Morpurgo reminds us that this was not the case - that these were normal, everyday men who were simply ordered to do a job. Renzo’s disability is beautifully conveyed through the love his family, and Kezia’s family, have for him. Their ability and commitment to go into his world, rather than forcing him to adhere to social norms (particularly in the 1940’s), is very special to read. I hope that this will transcend into today’s world and change some people’s perception of children like Renzo. They are special and they do have a voice, if you’re willing to listen.I really loved this book and I can’t wait to read it to my own class of children.Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins, Children’s Books UK for this advanced copy.
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  • Paula Sealey
    January 1, 1970
    It seems that every Michael Morpurgo book I read has the ability to turn me into a blubbering wreck at some point in the story. 'Flamingo Boy' was no exception and the tears were bouncing off my cheeks at the end! I know his books are targeted at a young audience, but honestly, the tales are so touching that they demand to be read by everyone. In the South of France during the Second World War, young Romany girl Kezia meets Lorenzo. Lorenzo is unlike anyone Kezia has met before. He lives on his It seems that every Michael Morpurgo book I read has the ability to turn me into a blubbering wreck at some point in the story. 'Flamingo Boy' was no exception and the tears were bouncing off my cheeks at the end! I know his books are targeted at a young audience, but honestly, the tales are so touching that they demand to be read by everyone. In the South of France during the Second World War, young Romany girl Kezia meets Lorenzo. Lorenzo is unlike anyone Kezia has met before. He lives on his parents farm, caring for injured animals and the local flamingos with his special healing magic. He loves nothing more than to ride on Kezia's parents carousel; enjoying the music and movement. When a storm rages and the carousel is damaged, everyone is devastated, including an invading German soldier. While war rages on, and with the help of the German captain, the two families work together to survive and restore the carousel to its former glory.I loved every character in this book, but Lorenzo was a joy to read! So wonderfully described, he really came alive and I envisaged him flapping his arms around the marshes in joy; honking like a flamingo. How Kezia comes to retell her story to young Vincent was a lovely touch, and the ending just couldn't have been any better. One for young and old and a huge 5 stars from me!*I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Ken
    January 1, 1970
    The story starts with young Vincent explaining why he wanted to travel to the South of France, on he's journey he is taken ill and elderly pair Kezia and Renzo who help nurse him back to full health.Each night Kezia recounts a tale of what life was like growing up during the Second World War. Herself being a Roma gypsy girl and Renzo autism.Morpurgo's delicate handling of Renzo's disability is the heart of the book. My only criticism of the book itself is that it's a story in a story, this nulli The story starts with young Vincent explaining why he wanted to travel to the South of France, on he's journey he is taken ill and elderly pair Kezia and Renzo who help nurse him back to full health.Each night Kezia recounts a tale of what life was like growing up during the Second World War. Herself being a Roma gypsy girl and Renzo autism.Morpurgo's delicate handling of Renzo's disability is the heart of the book. My only criticism of the book itself is that it's a story in a story, this nullified any sense of threat. All the scenes with Vincent did seem slightly pointless and dragged the story down for me.Thought I can appreciate this is to make this book more accessible for younger readers.
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  • Karyn
    January 1, 1970
    Loved everything about this story - the relationship/friendship between Lorenzo & Kezia was beautiful!
  • Lara
    January 1, 1970
    This book is amazing set in world war 2 in France it follows the life of a Roma girl and an autistic boy this book is amazing and will follow you for life
  • Anita
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing story, amazing book.
  • Claire Bennett
    January 1, 1970
    Great story. Could not wait to pick it up & read some more. Definitely recommend to read.
  • Pauline
    January 1, 1970
    Morpurgo is a seriously gifted writer and this story, of a story within a story, will not disappoint his fan base. The novel begins with the story of Vincent, a young man in the 1980s who is inspired by a painting of the Camargue area in the South of France by Vincent Van Gogh, to head off on a great adventure. Taking ill, he meets an elderly pair Kezia and Lorenzo who nurse him back to health. At night Kezia tells Vincent the pair’s story and, along with Vincent, the reader waits in anticipatio Morpurgo is a seriously gifted writer and this story, of a story within a story, will not disappoint his fan base. The novel begins with the story of Vincent, a young man in the 1980s who is inspired by a painting of the Camargue area in the South of France by Vincent Van Gogh, to head off on a great adventure. Taking ill, he meets an elderly pair Kezia and Lorenzo who nurse him back to health. At night Kezia tells Vincent the pair’s story and, along with Vincent, the reader waits in anticipation of each night’s next chapter. Her story of what it was like to be a Roma gypsy girl and an autistic boy in occupied France in World War II is fascinating. This is a beautiful story about war, difference, acceptance and co-operation. The characters are authentic to their historical time and place. It will appeal to readers who enjoy books that slowly reveal their secrets, and to readers who enjoy strong character driven historical narrative.Suitable for 9+ - threats of war, mild violence, discrimination, injuries to wildlife
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