Like the best fiction this book is intelligent without being difficult, charmingly warm without becoming saccharine and tackles real issues without shirking responsibility or pandering to adult sensibilities. No, Michael Morpurgo is far too good for that. Like much of his timeless writing, this book sparkles with wonderful characters and the animals whose honest companionship helps them through tough times.
Six-year old orphan Arthur Hobhouse is shipped to Australia and stripped of his identity. All he takes with him is a lucky key (that might or might not have been given to him by his sister, Kitty) and a song in his heart, London Bridge is Falling Down. This is the story of Arthur’s search for the solution to the riddle of his identity, a riddle that leads him to a love for the sea, for The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner, and for ship-building; a profession that will culminate in the building of Kitty 4, a boat in which he will sail back around the world with his daughter, adventuring into his past. It is true; Michael Morpurgo’s name on a book really is a guarantee of quality.
7.5 out of 10