The Giant’s Necklace – Michael Morpurgo. Illustrated by Briony May Smith



Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9781406357127
Australian RRP: $19.99
New Zealand RRP: $22.99

Coming hot on the heels of my review of Michael’s ‘Such Stuff’ is this absolutely beautiful short story/novella which is both poignant and thrilling.  And of course, now I also want to know the ‘prompt’ for this particular story.

A family is on their annual summer holiday on the Cornish coast in the same cottage in which they always stay. As usual the secluded little beach is all theirs and for the entire stay, Cherry the youngest in the family has been vigilantly collecting perfect pink cowrie shells and stringing them into a ‘giant’s’ necklace much to the amusement of her four older brothers.

On the last day of the holiday Cherry is short of her target by only about a hundred shells and knows that she can achieve her goal.  Knowing the child is safe on the beach the family go back to pack up ready for the next morning’s departure leaving Cherry with her fixation.

But when the weather turns bad and the sea turns worse Cherry is cut off from her usual path home. At first she is frightened but realises she should be able to climb the cliff to safety. A strange light from a cave attracts her attention midway and she finds herself in an old copper mine where two old-fashioned Cornishmen are working away. They sense her distress, warm her and comfort her and eventually the younger man leads her to the surface and she is able to find her way home.

No spoilers here – to find out the twist in the tail/tale you will have to read it for yourself.

Beautifully presented in a small hardback with stunning illustrations and delicious glossy pages, this is a treat for the senses.

Highly recommended for readers from around nine years up.

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