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Title: Kensuke's Kingdom
Author: Michael Morpurgo, Illustrated by Michael Foreman
Published: 1999, colour 2005
Last week a family member gave me this book to read and I'm so glad they did. Even though it is classed as a children's book, I believe that it is a strong book with high quality content that a lot of people can relate too. Especially for individuals of all ages who have a sense of adventure and close family ties. My version of the book is a paperback with 160 pages, 10 chapters and the lettering is quite large which makes it easy to read.
A family from England face the odds to brave the elements on the open water, travelling far and wide. Until one night, when the fun comes to an end...a member of the family strikes an unlikely friendship with lone man after being knocked overboard whilst trying to save his dog. Once they are saved they wake up to find themselves on an island in the middle of know where.
Learning the basic way of life they are taught by the only local on the island; an old man called Kensuke. At first they have a distant relationship but they are soon brought together to overcome adversity. Finally finding their place in the world, putting a real emphasis on family life and how important those around you truly are. It also shows a mothers love, a undeniably strong bond which is created and cannot ever be taken away.
This book is a family orientated, heartfelt story making connections across the world. It is a story of learning to live and survive in the most basic way. In some parts of the book it is quite nail biting, it's a gripping story which makes the book hard to put down. This in my opinion is a great quality! If you enjoy reading about or have a passion for sailing, adventure or stories of survival against the odds then this is the perfect book for you.
My favourite part of the book is the emotional journey you go through with the characters. You become emotionally invested in what happens to them. In the end of the book there is one page called the 'Postscript' where you find a letter from Kensuke's son to the family member who met his father. I do not want to give any of it away therefore I urge you to go down to your local library and pick this book up even if it is just to read the heart felt letter.
The also has little drawings throughout, for example at every new chapter there is a black and white drawing to illustrate and give you an indication of what is going to happen in the next chapter; these drawings are very detailed.
However there are quite a few grammatical mistakes throughout the book. A few of the sentences do not flow or they do not read well and there are occasions where there are problems with the grammar which is worrying when this book is aimed at children who are learning to read and write long stories in the appropriate way.
The cover of the book uses bright and vibrant colours mixing together the deep, rich blues of the sea with the fading reds and oranges of the setting sun with the main part of the book, the yacht. The colours make the book very eye catching, especially to children as they want to see some life and pictures to draw their imagination in even more. From the front cover, to the spine and to the back of the book the design of the sea and sky flow effortlessly.
On the front cover of the book it states that it is the winner of the Red House Children's Book Award which was awarded to Michael Morpurgo in 2000 and it has also won the Prix Sorcières (France) in 2001. Therefore this shows that the book is internationally recognised.
Price/Where to buy:
I didn't purchase this book; it was given to me by a family member as stated before. However I believe that it will be available in your local libraries (Within the United Kingdom) and it is also available on Amazon for £3.99 and on Play.com for £2.94.
Overall I would defiantly recommend this book and not just to children. It is a book full of adventure and excitement, gripping the reader from beginning to end. Perfect as a present or for yourself. If you do purchase it I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. You may need some tissues for the end! (I certainly did).
*This review has also been posted on ciao under the name TravelBound.