Michael Morpurgo’s latest book is about a boy who is always getting into trouble. Everyone is always telling him he’s a bad lad. He gets caught playing on bomb sites, banging rubbish bin lids and stealing tomatoes and even a car. He gets arrested and sentenced to a year in Borstal, which was a prison for young offenders where they could learn a trade like carpentry, painting or bricklaying. The judge sends him there to think things over and learn his lesson. The first few months are tough and the boys are worked hard, ‘laying bricks for hours on end in all weathers, making bread in the kitchens, weeding in the vegetable garden.’ Every morning the boys have to go on a two-mile run and the bad lad likes running past the stables. One morning, as he goes past the stables the old man who looks after the horses calls him over and offers him an amazing opportunity to help out in the stables. This opportunity helps him to turn his life around and make his family proud of him.
Not Bad for a Bad Lad is another amazing story from Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman, the author and illustrator of War Horse, Kaspar: Prince of Cats and Billy the Kid. Michael Morpurgo often writes stories about an older person telling a child about their interesting life, and this is one of those stories. The story is inspirational and Michael Foreman’s illustrations add perfectly to the story. Don’t get put off by the picture of the horse on the front cover because this isn’t just a story about a horse. This is a must-read for all Michael Morpurgo fans, but a great book to delve into if you haven’t read any of his books yet.
Recommended for 9+ 10 out of 10