Micheal Morpurgo’s ‘Dear Olly’ follows three different characters, Olly, her brother Matt and Matt’s swallow Hero. It tells the tale of Matt’s journey and Hero’s migration to Africa along with Olly’s wait to hear news from her brother. Split into three segments, the narration follows each character, detailing their personal experiences and journeys.
Themes of journeys (both physical and emotional) and freedom run throughout the novel, along with the themes of recovery and acceptance after Matt has an accident whilst away in Africa. Parallels are drawn between Matt and Hero and, written in this style, the three different strands are permitted to intertwine and overlap, giving a depth to the novel and ensuring it is an engaging read. There are some black and white illustrations throughout but the use of letters vary the format and add an interesting dimension to the book.
This could be used in the classroom either read aloud to Key Stage 1 pupils or as an independent read for Key Stage 2. The use of letters would be helpful when teaching about different writing styles and layouts whilst the three different strands would be helpful when looking into character. The location of Africa could also be used for study into different cultures.
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