Review Blog

Dec 06 2016

The fox and the ghost king by Michael Morpurgo

cover image

Ill. by Michael Foreman. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780008215774
Like all foxes, the Fox family love to watch football and from their den under the garden shed, Father Fox and his eldest son venture forth to watch their favourite team, the Leicester City Foxes, although the night usually ends in disappointment because their team is soundly beaten each time. On the night that they were beaten by Chelsea, the foxes were making their way home trying to keep their spirits up by raiding the dustbins along the way looking for food scraps, especially pizzas, but anything that had been left behind that would make a quick and easy meal. As usual they venture into a city carpark that is being dug up because there is a good chance of finding some fresh, juicy worms but this night their attention is caught by an invisible voice seeking their help.
The voice purports to be the King of England who desperately wants the foxes to dig a tunnel to him so the archaeologists can find him and give him the fitting regal burial he is due and help clear his reputation that he believes, 'that villainous scribbler Will Shakespeare', 'that wretched man, that ruinous rhymster, that dastardly dramatist', has ruined. Eventually the foxes agree but being cunning creatures, there has to be something in it for them - 'such stuff as dreams are made on'.
If anyone can draw a connection between the remains of King Richard III being found in a carpark in Leicester City and the Leicester City Foxes winning the English Premier League for the first time ever, it would be Michael Morpurgo. This is a short, humorous story retold by Master Fox whose story is backed up by articles in the Leicester Echo that will appeal to younger readers who are almost independent but who still need the support of short chapters, larger fonts and supporting illustrations.
Morpurgo is a master at creating new stories that are unique in their storylines and this one is no different. Superb.
Get a taster on YouTube.
Barbara Braxton

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