This book is called, ‘DEAR OLLY’ written by Michael Morpurgo. It is about a litle girl named Olly and her older brother named Matt. Olly is an ordinary girl living with Matt and her mother. She is fond of and passionate about a few different things. Matt’s talent is to be a clown and make people laugh. He also has a passion for taking care of swallows. Since Matt’s mother is a vet and because he has a love of swallows, Matt’s mother assumes that Matt will be a vet after graduating university. One day, Matt sees pictures of dejected kids from Africa who are hurt and helpless. Matt’s delicate heart cracks as he sees this. He tells Olly that he is going to Africa to cheer up the sad children there. His family are shocked at his decision.His family members try to dissuade him but nothing works. One day, Matt just leaves. Olly and mother grieve and Olly tries to comfort mother but nothing works. The joy in the house is gone. By and by, Olly gets closer and closer to the swallows and loves their elegant agility and fancy aerobatics. One day, she finds a swallow weak with a crooked wing. Olly and mother work on the bird and treat him. They warm him near the fire and give him a few drops of glucose. When he finally recovers, the two put a ring around him so they could recognise him when he flies back from Africa. They name him Hero. So, Hero flies off with his flock but loses his flock in a storm. He has two close calls with death but saves himself and gets back with his flock in Africa. There, he meets Matt who is just finishing his clown hour with the kids. Matt had reached Africa and started to take care of over two hundred scared children. He had also transformed a scared, shy boy named Gahamire into a happy, friendly boy who became quite close to Matt. Matt is a second father to all the sad but now happy children in the orphanage. One disastrous morning, Gahamire’s gone. Matt drives to the mountain and finds him. A landmine breaks Matt’s leg and he finds himself saying goodbye to his orphanage and hello to his old London. By and by, Matt recovers from his broken leg and get’s it replaced with a wooden leg. Although his leg is healed, his heart is not. Leaving his life in Africa where his children were, was tough. To console himself, Matt finds a father swallow with a slightly crooked left leg. He shows it to Olly. Could it be Hero?
What I like about this book:
  • The significance of the title is that it tells a reader who hasn’t read the book that a character named Olly is away from someone. It also tells the reader that there is a certain batch of letters in the book.
  • There were three parts to the book but the biggest part was Olly’s story. All the events in the book happened in Olly’s story and were seen through Olly’s eye but Hero and Matt’s Stories each gave a little more description on each of the events and situations.
  • Michael Morpurgo’s stories always have a kind of tragedy in them and I like this because if a story has a tragedy to it and it’s touching, there can be a very deep meaning to. In this, its to persevere, do what your heart and instinct tell you and have faith in yourself. Another lesson was: if someone really wants to do something and has a particular talent, let them do it and don’t give them pain over it. These are the two big lessons and meanings I found in the book.
  • The author uses Hero the swallow as an analogy and example to express perseverance, faith and the will to keep doing something. It reminded me a little of Jonathan Livingston Seagull and the way Richard Bach also used JLS as an analogy for perseverance and following your dreams. Here is the link to my book report of Jonathan Livingston Seagull.
  • Fun time! Here is a little quiz for kids who have read the book:
1.    What tragic but good event happened to the hobby falcon so that he couldn’t chase Hero anymore?
2.   Did Olly have a father? If so, what happened to him?
3.   What color did Olly paint her toenails at the start of the story?
4.   Which hospital did Matt go to for his broken leg?
5.    What was the name of his broken leg?