More adventure than an ordeal, this survival tale will fit the bill for thoughtful readers discomfited by extreme violence or gross details. To Michael, the round-the-world sail he’s taking with his parents aboard the 42-foot Peggy Sue is great fun, until the moment he and his dog Stella Artois are washed overboard. Michael comes to on a small island, inhabited by gibbons, a colony of orangutans—and Kensuke, a Japanese naval doctor stranded there more than 40 years before. The plot centers around Michael’s emotional ups and downs as he battles loneliness and mosquitoes then grow closer to his rescuer, who supplies him with food and water, but makes him stay on one end of the island, at least until he’s stung by a jellyfish, and needs nursing back to health. Kensuke has built a small, beautiful world for himself that he teaches Michael to see, and to paint, in exchange for English lessons and news of the outside. When Michael’s steadfast parents arrive, after nearly a year’s searching, to carry him and Stella away, Kensuke opts to stay behind—but it’s plain that his spirit and simplicity have worked profound changes on his young charge. A prizewinning import: sensitive, perceptive, and well-told. (Fiction. 10-12) ~ credit from kirkusreviews.com
Winner of The Red House Children’s Book Award.
QUOTES FROM KENSUKE’S KINGDOM
“Life must not be spent always hoping, always waiting. Life is for living. -Kensuke”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
British author Michael Morpurgo was born in St. Albans, Hertforshire in 1943. He attended the University of London and studied English and French. He became a primary school teacher in Kent for about ten years. He and his wife Clare started a charity called Farms for City Children. They currently own three farms where over 2000 children a year stay for a week and experience the countryside by taking part in purposeful farmwork. He has published over 100 books and several screenplays. He won the 1995 Whitbread Children’s Book Award for The Wreck of the Zanzibar, the 1996 Nestle Smarties Book Prize for The Butterfly Lion, and the 2000 Children’s Book Award for Kensuke’s Kingdom. Private Peaceful won the 2005 Red House Children’s Book Award and the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award. Five of his books have been made into movies and two have been adapted for television. He was named as the third Children’s Laureate in May 2003.