A heartwarming tale of courage and warmth, set against the backdrop of the second world war, about a cat who survives against the odds.
Read by Jenny Agutter and Michael Morpurgo, this is now available both on tape and on CD.
"Something's up. Something big too, very big. At school, in the village, whoever you meet, it's all anyone talks about. It's like a sudden curse has come down on us all. It makes me wonder if we'll ever see the sun again."
It's 1943, and Lily Tregenze lives on a farm, in the idyllic seaside village of Slapton. Apart from her father being away, and the 'townie' evacuees at school, her life is scarcely touched by the war. Until one day, Lily and her family, along with 3000 other villagers, are told to move out of their homes – lock, stock and barrel.
Soon, the whole area is out of bounds, as the Allied forces practise their landings for D-day, preparing to invade France. But Tips, Lily's adored cat, has other ideas – barbed wire and keep-out signs mean nothing to her, nor does the danger of guns and bombs. Frantic to find her, Lily makes friends with two young American soldiers, who promise to help her. But will she ever see her cat again? Lily decides to cross the wire into the danger zone to look for Tips herself…
Now, many years later, as Michael is reading his Grandma Lily's diary, he learns about The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips – and wonders how one adventurous cat could still affect their lives sixty years later.
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A lot of Michael Morpurgo’s novels for young readers have shared a common theme recently, and to a canon of work about the two World Wars that has included War Horse and Private Peaceful he adds the quietly impressive The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. His backdrop, meticulously researched and recreated as ever, is the evacuation of several South Coast villages in early 1944 to make way for American troops as they practice for the imminent D-Day landings.
Morpurgo focuses on the impact this upheaval has on one young twelve-year-old girl, Lily Tregenze, who lives on a farm in the village of Slapton with her mum and grandfather. Her world is made up of her local school, currently filled to bursting with London evacuees, and her adoration for Tips, her faithful cat companion. Tips is forever having litters of kittens and Lily is distraught when her dad, who’s away in the army, then her mum, drowns successive litters because they would be too many to keep and feed.
The biggest shock of the reality of living in Wartime Britain, however, comes when they find out they have to move to their Uncle George’s farm to make way for the army exercises. On the eve of their move, Tips goes missing. And for months afterwards it is only the kindness of a young American soldier and his army friend who help look Lily look for Tips that helps her get through the many changes and challenges in her life.
The reader is forewarned that there is a twist at the end of this story, that Lily has gone and done something amazing and maybe a little foolhardy, and half the fun of this book is guessing what that might turn out to be. Morpurgo is a genuinely talented storyteller. There is always the kernel of a great idea in his books that make him one of the best writers for children around today. (Age 8 and over) --John McLayReview:
Praise for PRIVATE PEACEFUL:
Tommo’s journey from agricultural labourer to cannon fodder is movingly told…Michael Morpurgo is expert at getting through to his readers. He writes here about events that should never be forgotten nor forgiven, and does so most effectively. Independent
…full of warmth as well as grief, conveying vividly how precious it is to be alive… Sunday Times
The best novel he’s written since The Butterfly Lion. The Times
Deserved to last as an insight into the First World War in the same way as, say, The Silver Sword or Goodnight Mr Tom. Telegraph
A poignant, elegiac novel. Daily Mail
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