Best-selling author Michael Morpurgo turns his storytelling skills to the drama and tragedy of the Spanish Civil War, illustrated by Michael Foreman.
TORO,TORO is the story of a young boy growing up in Andalucia, Spain, on a farm rearing bulls for the bull ring. Antonito hand rears a little black calf and they become firm friends, but the boy doesn't yet understand the fate of the black bulls – the corrida and death. Later, when he learns of the horrors of the bull fight, he frees Paco, the black bull, and rides with him into the hills.There they witness the bombing of their village (it's the year 1936, and the Spanish Civil War has started) and Antonito cannot go back – his family and the farm are destroyed, and Paco has run off, wild with fright. He decides to stay in the hills, where he meets up with the Resistance fighters. During the War, Antonito hears stories round the campfire of the wonderful black bull, who becomes a symbol of freedom for them all. Could this really be Paco? But no-one has ever seen him. After the war, when Antonito is working as a muleteer in the mountains, he falls asleep and dreams of Paco. In the morning, he wakes to see hoof prints on the ground beside him...
A delightful story, full of nostalgia and drama in the author's own inimitable style. Illustrated by Michael Foreman.
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Michael Morpurgo OBE is one of Britain’s best-loved writers for children. He has written over 100 books and won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Whitbread Award. His recent bestselling novels include ‘Shadow’, ‘A Medal for Leroy’ and ‘Little Manfred’.
His novel ‘War Horse’ has been successfully adapted as a West End and Broadway theatre play and a major film by Steven Spielberg. A former Children’s Laureate, Michael is also the co-founder, with his wife Clare, of the charity Farms for City Children.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-8-A grandfather tells his grandson about the horrors of war in this story set during the Spanish Civil War. As a youngster, Antonito lived on a small farm outside the village of Sauceda. His father raised strong black bulls for the bullring, or corrida. The boy bonded with a newborn calf after its mother died, and in order to save it, he led Paco into the surrounding hills. While they were away, Franco's soldiers bombed the village. Leaving Paco behind, Antonito returned home, discovering the farm in flames. He escaped back into the safety of the countryside, but couldn't find the calf. Weeks later, suffering from hunger and exhaustion, he was found by his Uncle Juan, a Republican soldier, and nursed back to health. While recuperating, he heard a tale of a large black bull that chased down Nationalist soldiers, and he hoped that it was Paco. Years later, after he dreamed that the creature rested next to him while he slept in the forest, he awakened to discover hoof marks of a massive bull in the still-warm grass. Morpurgo's action-filled novel packs an emotional punch. The author gradually reveals the historical information and narrates the tale with the careful detachment of someone relating a story so awful that he can hardly bear to tell it. Ideal for reluctant readers, this book focuses on the loss and grief that grows out of times of war.
Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI
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