Michael Morpurgo Books Activity Sheet
Chatterbooks in Lockdown
February 2020 was named "Michael Morpurgo Month" – a just reward for one of our
best loved children's authors, who has written over 150 books and sold more than 35 million copies worldwide. In 2003, he was given the title "Children’s Laureate" and in 2018, he was
knighted for his services to literature.
Read Michael Morpurgo books now.
Michael Morpurgo fans might like to have a go at this quick quiz, and other Michael Morpurgo (MM) related activities!
- List all the Michael Morpurgo books you have heard of
- List all the Michael Morpurgo books you have read
- What do you understand by the title "Children’s Laureate"?
- Can you name any other children's authors who have held this title?
- Which of MM's books have been made into films?
- Which of his books was made into a play, first performed in the West End in 2007?
- What are the main themes of MM's books?
- What was MM's first job? How did this help him as a writer of children's books?
MM's Mixed-Up Books
Can you unscramble these anagrams (mixed-up words) to find the titles of 10 Michael Morpurgo novels? (Clue: the title has the same number of words as its anagram)
- Inglybaf moo
- Win nee ode wed a olaisa
- Wos hearr
- Fry boam
- Ruin winglind
- Ler oyald
- Fetac levrupiape
- Rob runt no
- Royal o freed alm
Michael Morpurgo's stories are full of strong "empathetic" characters – characters we can relate to, whose actions we support and whose feelings we understand.
Can you pick one such character from any MM novel and create a character profile for him/her using details from the story?
You could draw how you imagine the character looks, and list, or put in a table form, some of the following:
- What he/she looks like, particularly any distinctive features
- Their personality traits – why you think you could be friends with this person
- How he/she behaves, particularly any unusual habits/ways
- Favourite hobbies/interests especially if unusual and makes them stand out
- Their likes and dislikes
- Relationships with others – family and friends
- Why you feel you can empathise with this character
- Any advice you could offer them to help them deal with life
Flamingos and Other Creatures
Many of Michael Morpurgo's books centre on the relationships between animals and humans. In several stories he focuses on a character, usually a child, rescuing an animal.
In others, he writes from the viewpoint of the animal. But always, the animals are portrayed as intelligent, perceptive and entertaining. In "Flamingo Boy", the main character,
Lorenzo loves to count flamingos. He is concerned about their declining numbers, fearing they might die out altogether. There are, in fact, only 6 species of this most distinctive of birds,
with their long necks, skinny legs, funny beaks and, of course, their vibrant pink feathers. (One of the collective nouns for a group of flamingos is a "flamboyance" – honestly!)
You could maybe have a go at some "Flamingo fact finding", including:
- Why adult flamingos are pink, yet their young are born with grey feathers
- Why they stand on one leg
- How and why they run on water
- Why their mouths are like sieves
- Where their name comes from
- List all the Michael Morpurgo books you have heard of. Various answers
- List all the Michael Morpurgo books you have read. Various answers
- What do you understand by the title "Children's Laureate"? Children's Laureate is a well- known writer of children’s books who promotes and encourages children's interest in books, reading and writing.
- Can you name any other children's authors who have held this title? Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson, Malorie Blackman, Chris Riddell, Lauren Child, Cressida Cowell.
- Which of MM's books have been made into films? "War Horse", "Why the Whales Came", "Friend or Foe", and "Private Peaceful"
- Which of his books was made into a play, first performed in the West End in 2007? "War Horse"
- What are the main themes of MM's books? Themes- animals and wildlife, war and other times of crisis, travel and journeys, relationships between the old and young, rural village life – sense of community.
- What was MM's first job? How did this help him as a writer of children's books? He was a primary school teacher. He wanted all children to love reading and he knew the sort of books they enjoyed (and didn't enjoy) in school, so he wrote books he hoped they would love.
MM's Mixed-Up Books Answers
- Flamingo Boy
- Alone on a wide wide sea
- War Horse
- Farm Boy
- Running Wild
- Dear Olly
- Private Peaceful
- Born to Run
- A Medal for Leroy
Flamingo Fact Finding
- Flamingos' plumage turns pink in the first couple of years of their lives because of an organic chemical found in their food (shrimps, snails, algae) called "beta carotene". The more of these foods they eat, the brighter the pink they are.
- They stand on one leg to save more energy and preserve body heat by wrapping their long lanky leg around themselves, locking it into place with a special joint feature.
- They run on water to pick up speed before taking off for flight. The webbing between their 3 toes gives them the balance to do this.
- Their mouths are like sieves so that they can scoop up large amounts of water at a time. Their tongues and rows of small combs on their beaks trap the foodstuffs and the unnecessary water is spat out.
- The name is Spanish, from the word "flamenco" meaning fire, referring to their colour.
Page last updated: 24th August 2020