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Grade 5-7–Morpurgo frames this story with a grandmother sharing her girlhood journal with her grandson and a letter explaining what she has recently done. In the main story, Lily is 12 in 1943 and lives in southern coastal England. The war brings a foreign teacher, American soldiers, evacuees from London, and the sound of warplanes to their rural area. The girl's family is forced to move from their farm to an uncle's so the army can use their land to practice sea landings. A boy evacuee moves in with them. Lily's rocks during this unsettled time are her cat, Tips, and the friendship she strikes up with a black American soldier, Adolphus, better known as Adie. Decades later, Lily sees Adie and his son on the beach. Their friendship is rekindled and, after her husband's death, she visits him in Atlanta, GA. As the story ends in the present, she tells her grandchild that she and Adie have just married and that she is bringing him home to London with her. This is an appealing story, but it has a nostalgic quality that may limit its interest to children.–Jane G. Connor, South Carolina State Library, Columbia
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Gr. 4-7. Following a grandson's memories of riding on a motorbike with his beloved grandmother, Lily, this story goes back in time to Lily's journal entries, made during World War II in Britain, which show her as a fiercely independent person even then--as angry at her family as she is at the enemy. Lily, 12, feels guilty about quarreling with Dad before he left to fight (what if he gets killed?), but her most immediate concern is finding her beloved cat, Tips, which goes missing after the family is forced to evacuate its coastal farm to make room for the army to rehearse the invasion of Normandy. She is helped by a kind, black GI, Adolphus ("Adie"), with whom she develops a bond. The personal story of anger and love is as gripping as the war drama, and Morpurgo includes a fascinating note about the invasion rehearsal and why its history is seldom told. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.