Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo

I recommend this book for: grade 4-6

I LOVED this book. It begins with Boowie, a British boy in the present day who has a fantastic relationship with his grandmother, Lily. When she sends him the diary she kept during WWII, the narrative switches to her voice, and the story she tells is indeed amazing. One of the untold (at least, I've never heard it) stories of the war is that several coastal towns in England were forced to evacuate so that the Allies could practice their landing for Normandy - aircraft, mines, live ammo and everything. Although Lily's grandfather refuses to leave his farm at first, all of the people get safely away - but Lily's beloved cat Tips is nowhere to be found. Harry and Adie, two black American soldiers befriend Lily and promise to look out for the cat, but they're in a lot of danger themselves, even before they travel to France.

This is a lovely look at the war and what it meant through the eyes of a 12 year old girl. Lily's only personal loss is that of the cat, but her father is away with the engineers, her teacher loses her husband, and a boy who has been evacuated from London stays with her family, so she does have personal experience with the effects. I thought it was beautifully written, and the ending where the narrative goes back to Boowie and Lily in her later years has a very sweet and fitting surprise ending. Probably not a book for everyone, although the war aspect might draw some boys in, but definitely worthwhile for the right reader.

Or, see what real reviewers think.

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