Rainer Maria Rilke

"Live a while in these books, learn from them what seems to you worth learning, but above all love them. This love will be repaid you a thousand and a thousand times, and however your life may turn,-it will, I am certain of it, run through the fabric of your growth as one of the most important threads among all the threads of your experiences, disappointments, and joys."--Rainer Maia Rilke

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Better Than the First One

Farm Boy by Michael Morpugo

Adolescent Fiction

This is a sequel to War Horse but it was so different that it almost seemed to be written by different authors.  It is a sequel, but the books have completely different styles and feelings to them.  I loved Farm Boy and only kind of liked War Horse.  Farm Boy is 1/2 illustrations and 1/2 story, a quick and easy read. 

The story is about Albert's son, who is now grown up and an old man.  He reminisces on  his life with Joey and Zoey after the war, which took place in the first book.  The great-grandson of Albert has come to stay for the summer with his grandfather, a man with a secret he's been hiding his whole life.  The grandson spends his summer helping his grandfather with this secret and listening, probably not for the first time, of stories of the old man's younger days.  The main story centers around one incident when a bragging neighbor bet that his new tractor could cut a field of hay faster than the old man and his two old farm horses.  It is like a tortoise and hare retelling, really, with "modern" farm machinery against traditional values of man and beast. 

I was crying by page 20 and that lasted all the way to the last page.  I really liked this story.  It was such a fast read, more like a short story than a novel.  The illustrations reminded me of another childhood favorite, The Little House on the Prairie series.  The story reminded me of my own youth, long summer drives with my own grandmother listening to the stories of her youth.  It was sweet and touching and a beautiful story to share with young people.

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