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Clare and Her Captain

Written by Michael Morpurgo

Illustrated by Catherine Rayner

Part of the Conkers Series

Featured Books for 5+ readers Featured Books for 7+ readers General Fiction

LoveReading View on Clare and Her Captain

One of our Books of the Year 2015 - November 2015 Julia Eccleshare's Book of the Month

Award-winning Michael Morpurgo is always at his best when writing about the countryside and the animals in it. Here, in a story inspired by his wife’s childhood, he writes about young Clare, visiting Devon for the summer holiday from her home in London, and forging a very special friendship with an old man and his horse. Michael Morpurgo brings the sights, sounds and smells of a hot summer in the English countryside vividly to life. Catherine Rayner’s delicate illustrations capture the scenes perfectly too.

Julia Eccleshare M.B.E

Other Info

The Conkers imprint has quickly and successfully established itself: offering the very best authors and illustrators, all heavily illustrated throughout, in a range of gorgeous formats.

Clare and Her Captain Synopsis

A stunning novella by the former Children's Laureate, inspired by his wife's countryside childhood and illustrated with exquisite full-colour artwork by multi-award-winning picture book and wildlife artist Catherine Rayner. Inspired by an episode from Clare Morpurgo’s childhood, Clare and her Captain is the story of the friendship between a young girl, an elderly hermit and his horse Captain during a long, hot summer in Devon. On holiday in the Devon countryside, Clare is bored by her parents' squabbling and longs for an adventure of her own. Her summer is transformed by a new friendship with retired horse Captain and his reclusive owner.

This is a must-have for every fan of Morpurgo's classic storytelling and Rayner's highly sought-after artwork, and a gift to treasure for young and old. Capturing perfectly the frustrations of a solitary childhood and the rhythms of countryside life, the book also features an afterword by Clare Morpurgo on the real-life events that became the novel.


Publisher Mairi Kidd says, “Sally Gardner struck a chord with so many of us when she described being ‘heartbroken that being grown-up meant reading books without illustrations’. It’s delightful to see a new appreciation of illustration in fiction emerge, thanks in no small part to Sally’s own collaboration with David Roberts on Tinder and wonderful books like A Monster Calls. In Clare and her Captain we had a wonderful chance to be part of this exciting new movement, bringing together Michael Morpurgo and Catherine Rayner’s superlative storytelling in word and picture. We all deserve pictures.”


Catherine’s illustrations for Clare and her Captain combine delicate silk-screen printed backdrops with vibrant watercolour, enhanced by Catherine’s signature touches of metallic ink and paints. Her wildlife observation is flawless and her flair for visual storytelling shines through in every spread.

Catherine imagined a detailed backstory for each and every picture on Thatcher Jones's wall.

Catherine had never painted a donkey before working on Clare and her Captain – she says they are now one of her favourite animals to draw!

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781781125281
Publication date: 25/01/2017
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781781124352
Publication date: 15/10/2015
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781781124352
Publication date: 15th October 2015
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Illustrator: Catherine Rayner
Publisher: Barrington Stoke Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 104 pages
Suitable for: 5+ readers, 7+ readers
Genres: General Fiction
Recommendations: Julia Eccleshare's Picks

About Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo, began writing stories in the early '70's, in response to the children in his class at the primary school where he taught in Kent.  One of the UK’s best-loved authors and storytellers, Michael was appointed Children’s Laureate in 2003, a post he helped to set up with Ted Hughes in 1999. He was awarded an OBE in 2007 and a Knighthood in the New Year’s Honours in 2018 for services to literature and charity. He has written over 150 books, including The Butterfly Lion, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Why the Whales Came, The Mozart Question, ...

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