Book review

Toro! Toro! by Michael Morpurgo (2001)

Here's another quietly told story by Michael Morpurgo. It is about a terrible time in Spanish history, not a very long time ago. In 1936 civil war broke out in Spain. It was a devastating war, as all civil wars are. In this story Antonito is out alone in the mountains early one morning, and watches appalled while his village is bombed out of existence. His family and the family farm and the animals are all lost to him that morning.

Perhaps we can only begin to imagine how he might have felt.

The village was unrecognisable. Hardly a house had survived. But I heard people, voices I knew. Then I saw them, faces I knew. My cousin Vittorio stood in the street with blood on his face. He was wailing, calling for his mother. There was so much wailing. Some were wandering about in a daze, mumbling to themselves. Others just sat staring into space, tears running down their cheeks.

But as with all great historical events, until the moment happens, all the players are carrying on with their ordinary lives. If you would like to know what Antonito was doing up in the mountains so early in the morning you will have to read the book. It was nothing to be very proud of, I think. Antonito had befriended the little bull calf, Paco, born on his parent's farm. As they grew up together Antonito gradually learned the grim truth of death in the bullring, and determined to save Paco from his fate.

But as things turn out, Paco has a very strange destiny to fulfil ...

What can I read next?

Michael Morpurgo has written many story books for readers of all ages. If you enjoyed Toro! Toro! you might like to look at some of these:

Dick King-Smith also writes charming stories for readers of all ages.

If you enjoy stories set in true historical settings, you might like to look at this one by Nina Bawden:

Or this one by Judith Kerr:

And for a great story, without magic, but set in a fantasy world, you could look at anything by Stephen Elboz:

Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:

Toro! Toro! features in these lists: