I was delighted to be asked to take part in #ShareAPuffinBook, the campaign around a group of classic children’s books re-released by Puffin this month. The titles include Charlotte’s Web, A Wrinkle in Time, Stuart Little and many more! The book I selected to re-read and write about was Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian’s touching novel set in Britain during World War Two.
Goodnight Mister Tom tells the story of William Beech, a young evacuee sent to live with the reclusive Tom Oakley in a small village in the English countryside. William is frightened and timid, but with Tom’s gentle care he learns to be happy, to make friends and discovers he is good and talented. But then William’s old life makes an unexpected return – will he see Mister Tom again? And will he stay the same changed, happy boy?
This is a very moving tale, about love, friendship and learning to be yourself. I love how much both William and Tom grow throughout the tale, and the village of Little Weirworld is full of memorable characters. The relationship between William and Tom is incredibly touching as they both learn to embrace their talents, and to love. This relationship is probably my favourite thing about the book; I would even say it is one of my all-time favourite book relationships! William’s transformation is handled very well – Magorian writes the character in a very sensitive manner, showing how he changes gradually. She also deals with the context skilfully, evoking a sense of life in wartime Britain without overloading the reader with information and history. It was wonderful to read this book again, it was a very emotional experience! I don’t think it’s possible not to be moved by the highs and lows of this tale – very highly recommended.
Check out an extract from Goodnight Mister Tom here: 1Goodnight Mister Tom extract
These new Puffin editions have extra material for readers to enjoy. In Goodnight Mister Tom this includes a glossary of some of the terms used in the book – such as wireless and Andersen shelter – as well as a quiz, facts about World War Two, recipes and more! This extra material not only adds to the reader’s understanding of the context of the book, but also provides some fun activities related to the book.
Thank you to Puffin Books for the invitation to join the project, I really enjoyed returning to Goodnight Mister Tom and I am delighted to see these wonderful classic titles being brought to a new audience!