Private Peaceful

by Michael Morpurgo

There have never been two brothers as close as Tommo and Charlie Peaceful. Growing... read more

There have never been two brothers as close as Tommo and Charlie Peaceful. Growing up as tenant farmers on The Colonel’s 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 can’t bear to be left behind and follows his brother into the army. Michael Morpurgo’s 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 can’t conquer all, the power of memory and hope can survive. (Ages 14–18)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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