Friday, 20 May 2011

Kensuke’s Kingdom

Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Michael Foreman (Hardie Grant Egmont)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 978-1-4052-4856-3
Reviewed by Lillian Rodrigues-Pang

I picked this book for the title – Kensuke’s Kingdom. I gravitate towards Asian titles/influences and in general it has paid off, think Samurai Kids and Dragon Keeper recently. Kensuke’s Kingdom turned out to be a wonderful, enthralling read that I could not put down. This book is at the top of the highly recommended list. In fact I am looking forward to reading it again – a bit slower this time – if only I could get it back off my children!

I will make a full admission of my ignorance here - when I picked up this book I had no idea of its history. Michael Morpurgo has written over 40 books and won the Whitbread Award, the Smarties Award, the Circle of Gold Award, the Children’s Book Award and has been short-listed for the Carnegie Medal four times. This is one of Michael Morpurgo’s best selling books and I can see why. It is brilliant.

This book is a page turning adventure. Michael is an 11-year-old boy who gets lost at sea with his dog. They are rescued by a mysterious Japanese elder and live together on an island amongst the Orangutans and Gibbons. This book has all the makings of a grand tale of adventure – a boy, his dog, a near deserted island, forests, wilderness, mosquitoes that eat Michael alive, a desperate search for water/survival, loneliness and friendship.

This is a re-release of Kensuke’s Kingdom including full colour artwork by the original illustrator, Michael Foreman. The colour and graphics do add to the story. They are gentle, well placed illustrations that add to the feel and beauty of the story.

Only read this book if you have a day free, as you will not be able to put it down. I highly recommend Kensuke’s Kingdom.

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