“Full of warmth as well as grief, conveying vividly how precious it is to be alive.”



I picked Private Peaceful up for my daughter and thought I’d read it while she was getting to it. It’s written for young adults but as anyone who has read any Morpurgo knows, it’s perfect for all ages.

Set in WWI the book follows the life of Thomas ‘Tommo’ Peaceful who is looking back on his life from the trenches of World War I. It’s an odd prose, building a sense of urgency using time as markers throughout the book.

The book starts before the war, following his adventures with his brother, then eventually war comes and by a chance walk through the town the boys end up enlisting and much of the rest of the book takes place in the trenches of World War I.

The writing is incredibly descriptive, at times you can almost smell the mud and explosives, but while heart-wrenching, it isn’t graphic in its descriptions of anything but the surroundings, and the fear.

As might be expected from any World War I tale, Private Peaceful is tale of tragedy, of loss, of fear and of having to grow up far, far too soon. Eventually the timeline in the book catches up with the present and that is where things must end.


Reviewed by:

Kath Cross

Added 3rd February 2016

More Reviews By
Kath Cross