Monday, 13 February 2012

Dear Olly by Michael Morpurgo (3/5)

The back says: As Olly waits for her brother’s letters, she watches the swallows preparing to leave for the winter. Hero the swallow starts his long journey to Africa, not knowing the terrible dangers he will meet on the way. And when Matt sees the children in the African orphanage – sick, injured and lonely – he knows he’s made the right decisions, but he never could have dreamt of what was going to happen to him there…
A story in three movements, told by three voices – a lyrics tale of family, love and determination.

I say: This made me smile in that way I only smile when something is sweet and just right. It’s a children’s book so there isn’t much to say about the writing in itself, but the illustrations were wonderful.

In a way I loved this story; the way Olly, Matt and the swallows lives were tied together, but at the same time I didn’t like the simplicity of it all. Yes, I understand that for the targeted demographic this is wonderful, but for me it left a little to be desired.

Having said that, Morpurgo talks about the life of the orphans in Africa without sugarcoating or patronizing the reader; these things are happening every day and I do love the way he shows the many different ways one can help – Matt’s being one.

I know virtually nothing about children’s books, and it says nothing about age on the cover, but I’d probably have read this at 7 or 8.


  1. My niece loves these books. I've never been tempted to try them but she has managed to collect them all. I think age varies depending on the book because he doesn't stick to one genre or one subject area. It usually covers 8-12yrs.

    1. Yeah, I saw that he's written quite a few books. I wish I had a niece/nephew that loved reading so I could buy them for her/him.