Wednesday 23 October 2013

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

The Pied Piper of Hamelin by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark (Walker Books)
PB $17.95
ISBN 9781406345193
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

This is a retelling of the classic tale from the 13th Century of the Pied Piper of Hamelin, which was also a poem by Robert Browning in children’s readers long ago. The production of the book is outstanding and the story is told in Michael Morpurgo’s brilliant first person narrative style, through the voice of the crippled boy that was left behind.

For those that don’t know the story, they must introduce themselves to it through this outstanding book, then read Browning’s poem! It will be an experience. The moral to this tale is that parents and children should always keep their promises and if you call the tune, to remember to pay the piper.

The illustrations by Emma Chichester Clarke beautifully complement Morpurgo’s text. The wide-eyed look on all the children’s faces, the way they blindly follow the Piper, his mysterious expression that speaks a thousand words, the anger in the villagers’ faces, the pompous looks of the Mayor. All this is tied with a bow and presented to the reader as a glorious gift of learning and entertainment to both readers of all ages.

There is a difference between this interpretation and Browning’s poem. But that will remain for the reader to discover.

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