Tag Archives: Romany

Flamingo Boy – Michael Morpurgo



Harper Collins Australia

ISBN: 9780008134648

ISBN 10: 0008134642

Imprint: HarperCollins – GB

On Sale: 26/02/2018

RRP $19.99

With his expected flair Michael Morpurgo takes some history and transforms it into a fascinating and poignant narrative blending modern day and World War II.

Young Vincent is about to take his final exams and is finding it difficult to focus and be motivated. In an effort to do so he promises himself he will visit the location of his favourite picture given to him by his grandparents. It is one of another Vincent’s works – boats on a beach in the Camargue, in the south of France. Duly with exams behind him Vincent takes himself camping but becomes seriously ill. Taken in by a kindly though odd older couple from a farm he recuperates slowly and is the audience for their combined story. Autistic Lorenzo and Romany Kezia first became friends at age eight when Kezia’s parents set up their carousel in the marketplace of Aigues-Mortes. There the two met; the boy who could not communicate well and the girl despised as a filthy gypsy – neither of them fitting the ‘normal’ social mode.

When the war came to Vichy France and the Nazis swarmed there was danger for both of them so Lorenzo’s family farm became a refuge for both. War breaks many things as does nature and when the carousel, the last remnant of joyful times, in the little marketsquare is destroyed, life seems very bleak indeed. But dark times bring out the good in many – families, communities and even some soldiers. A kind sergeant with a knack for carpentry becomes an unlikely ally as the children and the families heal.

Morpurgo’s beautiful descriptive writing and the almost lyrical nature of his narratives do not fail readers yet and this is another of his novels destined to become a classic read.  Rather than focusing on the evils of the war he chooses to highlight the humanity and hope that prevails in difficult circumstances.

Highly recommended for readers from around eight years upwards.

The Dream Snatcher – Abi Elphinstone



  • Simon & Schuster Children’s UK |
  • 288 pages |
  • ISBN 9781471122682 |
  • February 2015


AU$ 14.99

NZ$ 16.99


So yesterday whilst doing some spring-cleaning in preparation for a new year, I picked up this wonderful first novel – and first in a planned series – which will entrance readers who are fans of the likes of J.K. Rowling or similar stories full of magic and wonderful characters.


I read this in one sitting, as it was engaging and fast paced. Elphinstone names Northern Lights (Pullman) as her own favourite novel and there are overtones of his work in this fabulous story.


Ten year old Moll Pecksniff has been raised by the gypsies believing she is a foundling and ‘outsider’. Her foster parents Oak (head of the clan) and his wife Mooshie have cared for her as their own and with her best friend Siddy, she has enjoyed an untrammelled freedom growing up in the Ancientwood.

Her only worry has been the recurring nightmare which has plagued her and led her to sleepwalk.


When her cob Jinx is stolen by the evil Skull and his gang, enemies who have long wanted to drive the gypsies from the Ancientwood Moll determines to retrieve her pony.   Brave but perhaps foolhardy, Moll’s brush with Skull’s dark clan heralds the unravelling of the meaning of her nightmare, the revelation of her past and the challenge of her quest.


With memorable characters, believable actions and a combination of old magic and dark sorcery, this is very like Rowan of Rin but with the tension taken up several notches.


I look forward to the second instalment due out this year. Do check out Abi Elphinstone’s website for a trailer and other information.


Highly recommended for readers 11 years and up.

PS – Some delightful ‘tweets’ with Abi have resulted in her link for teaching ideas (she is a teacher as well!) plus the promise of a forthcoming Q&A – watch this space!