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Private Peaceful

by Michael Morpurgo

Published by U.S. edition: Scholastic Press, 2004
202 pages
ISBN: 0439636485

Ages 14 - 18

There have never been two brothers as close as Tommo and Charlie Peaceful. Growing up as tenant farmers on The Colonelís manor in early twentieth century England, their survival depended on their cooperation and willingness to work hard on behalf of their family, which includes Big Joe, an older brother with significant disabilities, and their widowed mother. Tommo loves and admires everything about Charlie, who protects Tommo at all costs from bullies, teachers, and anyone set to harm him. They even fall in love with the same girl. When Charlie goes off to fight in France during World War I, Tommo canít bear to be left behind and follows his brother into the army. Michael Morpurgoís haunting novel is told in alternating chapters, one in real time, as Tommo counts down the minutes on the battlefield, and one flashing back to their lives together at home before the war. The war scenes are horrifying and gruesome. and the conclusion of the real-time plot is almost unbearably painful. In precise, descriptive language, Morpugo demonstrates that even if love canít conquer all, the power of memory and hope can survive. CCBC categories: Fiction for Young Adults.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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