Michael's parents buy a yacht, and take him off to sail round the world. Washed overboard in a fierce storm, Michael finds himself on the shore of a remote island - and soon discovers he's not alone. Kensuke, a former Japanese soldier, survived the war and the bombing of Hiroshima, but his family perished. As an extraordinary bond forms between the two, Kensuke faces a heart-breaking choice: can he give up the secluded life he's built for himself to help reunite Michael with his parents? Knowing the pain of losing his own family, Kensuke knows which way he has to decide...
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Loved by children, teachers and parents alike, Michael Morpurgo, the last Children's Laureate, has written more than forty books and won the Whitbread Award, the Smarties Award, the Circle of Gold Award, the Children's Book Award and has been short-listed for the Carnegie Medal four times.From School Library Journal:
Grade 4-8-This poignant adventure story begins in England in 1988 and ends halfway around the globe in a place that will change the 11-year-old protagonist forever. After losing his job, Michael's father surprises the family by purchasing a yacht in which they will sail around the world. In the first weeks at sea, Michael, his parents, and his dog, Stella, zigzag from England to Australia and across the Coral Sea, where Michael's reverie comes to a frightening end. In the middle of the night, he and Stella are swept overboard in a fierce storm, and he later awakens on an island beach. The island is a hostile jungle full of howling gibbons, voracious mosquitoes, and brutal heat, all of which challenge his ability to survive. Yet when he finds fresh water and food mysteriously laid out for him each morning, he realizes that he is not alone. He soon comes face-to-face with Kensuke, an old Japanese soldier who cautiously protects Michael in spite of the boy's dogged determination to build a bonfire that will signal potential rescuers, defying Kensuke's wish that the outside world never learn of his existence on the island. For nearly a year, the man and boy help each other, moving from an uneasy d‚tente to a deep friendship. What might have been just a gritty tale of survival evolves into a gentle parable about trust, compassion, love, and hope. This well-crafted story has all the thrills and intrigues of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (Macmillan, 1986) and Theodore Taylor's The Cay (Avon, 1976), and it will resonate with the same audience.
William McLoughlin, Brookside School, Worthington, OH
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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