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Goodnight Mister Tom (Puffin Audiobooks)

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Young Willie Breech is evacuated to the country as Britain stands on the brink of the Second World War. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley - but his new-found happiness is shattered by a summons back from his mother back in London. Narrated by Patrick Malahide- Abridged on 2 cassette tapes. Running time - 3.5 hours.


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Young Willie Breech is evacuated to the country as Britain stands on the brink of the Second World War. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley - but his new-found happiness is shattered by a summons back from his mother back in London. Narrated by Patrick Malahide- Abridged on 2 cassette tapes. Running time - 3.5 hours.

30 review for Goodnight Mister Tom (Puffin Audiobooks)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Michelle Magorian's award winning historical novel is a wonderful re-read for me, I read it so long ago and it was a joy to re-acquaint myself with it. Some of you may be familiar with the story through the fabulous movie starring John Thaw. At the beginning of WW2, young Willie Beech is evacuated from London to a small rural village to stay with the withdrawn, grumpy loner that is Tom Oakley. When Willie first arrives he is a frightened and traumatised child, and no wonder, he has been abused, Michelle Magorian's award winning historical novel is a wonderful re-read for me, I read it so long ago and it was a joy to re-acquaint myself with it. Some of you may be familiar with the story through the fabulous movie starring John Thaw. At the beginning of WW2, young Willie Beech is evacuated from London to a small rural village to stay with the withdrawn, grumpy loner that is Tom Oakley. When Willie first arrives he is a frightened and traumatised child, and no wonder, he has been abused, neglected and bullied, but as he begins to settle into the community and eat proper meals, he starts to blossom, even overcoming his fear of Sammy, the dog. Tom and Willie are so good for each other, but Willie's happiness is endangered with his terrifying return to his nightmare of a cruel, 'religious' mother. When Tom doesn't hear from Willie, he decides to go to London. This classic emotionally touching story of war, resilience of the human spirit, hope, family, friendship, love, anti-semitism, death and child abuse is beautifully written and atmospheric, dealing with the most difficult of issues. I loved re-reading this, and would recommend this to all readers. Many thanks to Penguin Random House who are publishing a special anniversary addition this year.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    Willie Beech an 8 year old boy severely deprived and abused by his psychotic religious crank mother, is evacuated from his home in London on the eve of the Second World War to the English countryside town of Little Weirwold where he is billeted with the semi-reclusive elderly villager Tom Oakley. He finds in Tom a loving father figure and with Tom's border collie Sammy and the friends Willie makes in the village the irrepressible and chatty actor's son Zach , the farm boy George and two twin gir Willie Beech an 8 year old boy severely deprived and abused by his psychotic religious crank mother, is evacuated from his home in London on the eve of the Second World War to the English countryside town of Little Weirwold where he is billeted with the semi-reclusive elderly villager Tom Oakley. He finds in Tom a loving father figure and with Tom's border collie Sammy and the friends Willie makes in the village the irrepressible and chatty actor's son Zach , the farm boy George and two twin girls Carrie and Ginny, Willie soon develops from a timid and sickly child to coming into his own in a happy family and community He learns to sleep in a real bed which he never did before (and thought was only for dead people) and soon grows to love Sammy having been taught by his depraved mother to fear dogs. His happiness comes to an end when he is summoned to return to his mother in London and a life of abuse and cruelty. Willie's mother pours anger on him for his new found happiness and hatred for his being friends with Zach because Zach is Jewish. she has hidden a baby she has secretly given birth to. I will not further spoil the story but we read of extreme sadness balanced out by joy of life and the perseverance of the spirit . A story of friends and family, of war and survival, of abuse and recovery. Can't be highly recommended enough Both a tear jerker and uplifting. You finish it with a good feeling. Top read for anyone over eleven.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    "Takes yer time, everythin' 'as its own time." So I have this theory that whenever I read a book where there is a gruff old man who is prickly on the outside but a big softie in the middle, I will love it. This book is one of my all-time favourites and I know I say that about every book, but I definitely mean it this time. I first read it when I was about ten and I was in Year 5, learning about WW2 and the Blitz and evacuees. Seeing as I had read all the books we had to read and I was allow "Takes yer time, everythin' 'as its own time." So I have this theory that whenever I read a book where there is a gruff old man who is prickly on the outside but a big softie in the middle, I will love it. This book is one of my all-time favourites and I know I say that about every book, but I definitely mean it this time. I first read it when I was about ten and I was in Year 5, learning about WW2 and the Blitz and evacuees. Seeing as I had read all the books we had to read and I was allowed to go into the library and choose my own book. And this one was the first book I chose. Ms Magorian’s writing feels so comfortable to me; it’s simple and gentle but never ventures into twee-ness (twee-dom?)… fine, it never becomes twee. The setting is perfectly constructed, the friendships that are developed are honest and true and there is always this rich sense of innocent fun running through the story, which is perfectly balanced with the more harrowing points of the tale. But I’m not talking about them because it just makes me too sad. And let’s not forget Sam who is the most endearing fictional dog since Manchee. As I mentioned, I read this book when I was ten and now twelve years later this book was still beautiful. It has aged extremely well. I still laughed (seriously, Zach and I need to be best friends) and I still got teary at certain parts and I still got a warm feeling in my tummy at that epilogue. Yes. That’s right. An epilogue that made me feel warm and fuzzy. This is book is truly special to me. Also, I just want to say something about the film adaptation. Gasp. I know, I know. This is a book site! Only heathens talk about film on this site. But whatever, I don’t care. Normally I hate watching adaptations of my favourite books because they never ever EVER measure up. And I think this is the only exception. I think I’ve seen this film at least ten times (five of those viewings were on successive video days on the afternoon of every end of term, The Railway Children in the morning, of course.). Oh and whoever cast John Thaw as Mr Tom is a champion. And ALSO, why haven’t I gone and seen this play yet?! One day. :)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    With World War II looming over their heads, the city of London makes a decision to evacuate the children to the countryside. Willie Beech is one of the many children brought to Little Weirwold, where he is left at the home of Mr. Thomas Oakley, Mr. Tom. At the start, he feels a little put out, but accepts it as his duty. As does his dog Sammy, who seems happy to have a young person around, and bonds quickly with Willie. As Mr. Tom begins to observe Willie, whom Mr. Tom calls William, he begins to With World War II looming over their heads, the city of London makes a decision to evacuate the children to the countryside. Willie Beech is one of the many children brought to Little Weirwold, where he is left at the home of Mr. Thomas Oakley, Mr. Tom. At the start, he feels a little put out, but accepts it as his duty. As does his dog Sammy, who seems happy to have a young person around, and bonds quickly with Willie. As Mr. Tom begins to observe Willie, whom Mr. Tom calls William, he begins to realize that this is not an average child. He seems fearful and withdrawn, without any joy or trust in people, which softens his heart and the love and kindness he extends to Willie end up changing both of their outlooks on the world. This story deals with war, abuse and hate, endurance, poverty, the twisting of religion to justify the abuse of others, the hopelessness of children who have never known love, as well as the joy of giving love. Kindness can be lifesaving. Many thanks to my goodreads friend Linda, whose brief review prompted me to read this! https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    Such a beautiful, beautiful book. It was recommended to me by the librarian at my middle school who hosted a group called the Bookmunchers where nerdy ones, like myself, could eat their lunches in the library every Wednesday. Even through the horrors facing people in WWII London we are shown the true love that can happen from makeshift families like that made up of Mr. Tom and Willie. It's a book that changed my life as a child. It made me feel safe to know that even when we're at the worst plac Such a beautiful, beautiful book. It was recommended to me by the librarian at my middle school who hosted a group called the Bookmunchers where nerdy ones, like myself, could eat their lunches in the library every Wednesday. Even through the horrors facing people in WWII London we are shown the true love that can happen from makeshift families like that made up of Mr. Tom and Willie. It's a book that changed my life as a child. It made me feel safe to know that even when we're at the worst places in our lives that there are still possibilities. This is a heartbreaking, gentle and terrifying, eye opening tale where characters were surprised by their own ability to change.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is probably the book I have shed most tears over in my life. I can't even remember how often I read it as a young teenager, but I still feel that shiver going down my spine. Set in the English country-side during World War Two, it tells the story of a boy who is evacuated from London. He has to live with grumpy Mister Tom, and in the beginning, you can physically feel the boy's fear. As time goes by, the odd couple starts bonding, new friendships and interests make life exciting even though This is probably the book I have shed most tears over in my life. I can't even remember how often I read it as a young teenager, but I still feel that shiver going down my spine. Set in the English country-side during World War Two, it tells the story of a boy who is evacuated from London. He has to live with grumpy Mister Tom, and in the beginning, you can physically feel the boy's fear. As time goes by, the odd couple starts bonding, new friendships and interests make life exciting even though the threat of war is omnipresent. The hard part of the story begins when the mentally unstable mother in London claims her child back... Not too long ago my son read Good Night Mister Tom for the first time, and at one point I heard him crying aloud in his bedroom. He told me he had never felt so much pain over a fictitious character before. That is high praise from a book devouring 11-year-old!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    When I read a book like this one, I try to imagine what my eight or ten year-old self would have thought of it. I’m pretty sure she would have loved this and read it more than once. It is beautifully written, very sweet and uplifting, and inspires kindness and a view of the world as a place that will rescue you. William Beech is an evacuee from London during WWII, and Tom Oakley is the reclusive elderly man who has the boy foisted upon him. Will is a child who has been abused and bullied and his When I read a book like this one, I try to imagine what my eight or ten year-old self would have thought of it. I’m pretty sure she would have loved this and read it more than once. It is beautifully written, very sweet and uplifting, and inspires kindness and a view of the world as a place that will rescue you. William Beech is an evacuee from London during WWII, and Tom Oakley is the reclusive elderly man who has the boy foisted upon him. Will is a child who has been abused and bullied and his fear is evident almost immediately to Mr. Tom, who is a very kind man at heart. The reader witnesses the growing relationship that saves these two people, who don’t always fit with the rest of the world, as they face both everyday life and some traumatic experiences together. I believe this would make an excellent book to read with a young person. They would learn a lot about life during WWII, you could talk about what it takes to make a family, how to overcome the difficulties life throws at you, and both of you could enjoy a good story and a fun read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Josie

    We had to read this in primary school, and it's been one of my most-read, well-loved books ever since. It doesn't seem enough to say, "Oh, it's a really touching story," because it's so much more than that. Willie is a young boy who's been abused by his mother all his life, so when he's evacuated to the countryside he's a quivering nervous wreck. He expects to be beaten for everything he gets wrong. The widower he stays with, Tom Oakley, is gruff and blunt and has shunned company ever since his We had to read this in primary school, and it's been one of my most-read, well-loved books ever since. It doesn't seem enough to say, "Oh, it's a really touching story," because it's so much more than that. Willie is a young boy who's been abused by his mother all his life, so when he's evacuated to the countryside he's a quivering nervous wreck. He expects to be beaten for everything he gets wrong. The widower he stays with, Tom Oakley, is gruff and blunt and has shunned company ever since his wife died in childbirth forty years ago. While they first seem utterly unsuited to each other, each turns out to be exactly right for the other. This is a story about how two people can change. It never fails to make me laugh, and cry, and feel lighter after I put it down. I disagree with other reviewers who've said it's not for children (e.g. the abuse scenes are too shocking). Since we read it in primary school our teacher obviously didn't have a problem with it. (There were no complaints from parents either.) That said, it's accessible to all ages. It's one of those books that grows up with you, that you come back to again and again even when you're an adult. The writing is so evocative of a wartime country village, and the characters all feel real and fully developed. It's a wonderful tale of friendship and growth that everyone can enjoy.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    In 1993 my grandmother sent me this book. I still have the letter she sent with it tucked inside the book. She said she saw it sitting on top of stack of books at the thrift store. The picture of the little boy on the cover caught her fancy so she picked it up. "That night I read until my eyes got to tired for more. I liked it and hope you do too. It's about a time long ago during World War 2 in England. A different kind of world than we have now. There are still good people like Mr. Tom. Have a In 1993 my grandmother sent me this book. I still have the letter she sent with it tucked inside the book. She said she saw it sitting on top of stack of books at the thrift store. The picture of the little boy on the cover caught her fancy so she picked it up. "That night I read until my eyes got to tired for more. I liked it and hope you do too. It's about a time long ago during World War 2 in England. A different kind of world than we have now. There are still good people like Mr. Tom. Have a happy read with it and keep up your studies of history and English." Reading this book will always be a bit of a sentimental exercise for me. The story of abused evacuee Willie Beech and gruff old loner Mr. Tom may not be perfectly written and it might border on sappy and cliche at times but it is really a moving story. Especially the first time it is read. When re-reading it this time I did think that maybe I would not give this book such a high rating if it were not for the connection of it being a book from my grandmother. But so it is and so my rating remains.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Tom Oakley has become a loner in his village. He tends to be stern and quietly exists with a heavy heart. A small, nervous boy called Willie Beech enters Tom's life and home as an evacuee from war-torn London. Willie soon stirs up Tom's set ways. Over time, Willie flourishes with Tom's sensitive care and Tom finds new purpose in his life. A novel full of adventures in the countryside with friends, the spirit of helping each other in times of trouble, cozy nights next to the fire with books and di Tom Oakley has become a loner in his village. He tends to be stern and quietly exists with a heavy heart. A small, nervous boy called Willie Beech enters Tom's life and home as an evacuee from war-torn London. Willie soon stirs up Tom's set ways. Over time, Willie flourishes with Tom's sensitive care and Tom finds new purpose in his life. A novel full of adventures in the countryside with friends, the spirit of helping each other in times of trouble, cozy nights next to the fire with books and dialogue with humour and warmth. Magorian writes in a touching and sympathetic way about love, trust, fear and respect. There are some dark moments but she does not dwell on them. She shows the difference we can make with love and support.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mathew

    One of my final List of Betterment books and a true classic. I read so many children's books these days and now realise how high the benchmark for real literature can and should be for children. Deeply touching, uplifting, harrowing and joyous. I loved the relationship between Tom and Willie but also Willie and the community. Each character is real and watching Willie grow into a real person is an emotional journey. I'm happy to admit that I cried several times throughout. Sometimes because I fe One of my final List of Betterment books and a true classic. I read so many children's books these days and now realise how high the benchmark for real literature can and should be for children. Deeply touching, uplifting, harrowing and joyous. I loved the relationship between Tom and Willie but also Willie and the community. Each character is real and watching Willie grow into a real person is an emotional journey. I'm happy to admit that I cried several times throughout. Sometimes because I feared for Willie and other times because I was so happy for him. A story that would stay with the reader/listener for all time

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elinor

    I thought by the title and the cover that this would be a simple little tale, but it was actually very harrowing! Young William is an evacuee from the city streets of London who is deposited in the rural cottage of a crusty old widower. Will has endured some ghastly abuse at the hands of his mother, the description of which is now burned into my brain. Happily the old man and the boy form a bond that benefits both of them. Aside from the personal story, the book raised a lot of questions for me I thought by the title and the cover that this would be a simple little tale, but it was actually very harrowing! Young William is an evacuee from the city streets of London who is deposited in the rural cottage of a crusty old widower. Will has endured some ghastly abuse at the hands of his mother, the description of which is now burned into my brain. Happily the old man and the boy form a bond that benefits both of them. Aside from the personal story, the book raised a lot of questions for me about how the evacuation was handled. No doubt it saved lives, but some of these children and their parents must have suffered terribly.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)

    This story takes place against the backdrop of a charming and quirky English country town full of colorful characters. Willie Beech is an abused nine-year-old boy. "Mr. Tom" Oakley is a sixty-year-old man who was widowed 40 years ago and became the town recluse/curmudgeon. The two are thrown together when Willie arrives at Mr. Tom's cottage as one of the WWII evacuee children from London. They both blossom as they learn to love and encourage each other. Mr. Tom comes out of his self-imposed "herm This story takes place against the backdrop of a charming and quirky English country town full of colorful characters. Willie Beech is an abused nine-year-old boy. "Mr. Tom" Oakley is a sixty-year-old man who was widowed 40 years ago and became the town recluse/curmudgeon. The two are thrown together when Willie arrives at Mr. Tom's cottage as one of the WWII evacuee children from London. They both blossom as they learn to love and encourage each other. Mr. Tom comes out of his self-imposed "hermithood" to participate in the community again, and Willie discovers his own talents while becoming healthy and robust. The second half of the book takes on serious issues of child abuse/neglect, the horrors and losses of war, and the grieving process. It's done in such a way that it wouldn't be overwhelming for a young adult (age 12 and up) to read about. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and especially got caught up in the latter parts where there was more complexity in the story. It reminded me how much I love books for younger folk and need to seek out more of them.

  14. 4 out of 5

    ☆Dani☆

    I honestly have to ask- how did this novel get such a high rating? It was easily one of the worst novels I have ever read. It’s the apparently ‘heartwarming’ story of Willie Beech, who is sent from London to the countryside during the second world war. He goes from living with an overly religious, abusive mother to the gruff but kind Tom, and develops, or something. It doesn’t really matter. The characters are dire. Zack wins an award for being the most annoying dope I’ve ever seen in a novel. I a I honestly have to ask- how did this novel get such a high rating? It was easily one of the worst novels I have ever read. It’s the apparently ‘heartwarming’ story of Willie Beech, who is sent from London to the countryside during the second world war. He goes from living with an overly religious, abusive mother to the gruff but kind Tom, and develops, or something. It doesn’t really matter. The characters are dire. Zack wins an award for being the most annoying dope I’ve ever seen in a novel. I actually think he’s more annoying than Marked’s Zoey. At least she’s so annoying she’s funny. Zack’s just annoying. He’s like something out of the Famous Five, but 10000000000000000x times more over the top. I used to read the Famous Five, and loved it, so that’ll tell you how bad Zack was. (view spoiler)[I normally cry in books when children die. I was grateful when Zack died, because his stupid voice was going through my head. (hide spoiler)] Some people might say it’s good writing, that I could hear the character’s voice in my head, not just see it on the page, but those people have obviously never heard Zack, with the big, annoying, squeaky voice on him. Another irritating thing about him was the fact that halfway through the novel, he got a tan, and somehow turned black. Yes, some people get very dark tans, but no one goes from white to black with a tan. And once he turned black, we were constantly reminded of how black he was, something which did not happen when he was white. I think there should be more black characters in fiction, it’s overrun with straight, white, able-bodied American or English males, you know the type, and a break is welcome as the majority of people in the world do not fit into that group, but please do not change your character’s ethnicity halfway through the novel because they get a tan. It just makes no sense. Willie had practically no personality, except to be perfect at everything. Of course he gained confidence, he was brilliant at everything he tried! He started to read, he was great, he started to act, he was great, he started to draw, he was great… Everyone loved him, despite his complete lack of personality. If he was a teenaged girl, he’d be accused of being a Mary Sue. It’s bad writing. It would have been far more interesting to see him fail at things, and have to struggle to become good at what he does. To gain confidence through experience and learning, rather than instant brilliance. But no, he’s perfect first time. At every-bleeding-thing. You just know he’s going to grow up and become even cockier than he is now. Tom was just a prick. Something that annoyed me about him was his complete and utter selfishness, especially in the hospital. Insisting he could bring his dog into the HOSPITAL, because it would make his child feel better. What about the other children? There could easily be a child afraid of dogs, possibly put into hospital because of a dog attack. Bringing that dog in could traumatize them. Not to mention the fact that a dog carries germs, and could easily make an already vulnerable child even sicker, or possibly die. He also encourages Willie to scream at night in a hospital. With other sick and traumatized children who might not want to hear screaming. But the other children don’t matter to Tom though- once Willie’s happy, the other children can go to hell. He’s a selfish bastard, and I hated him. The friends were pointless, apart from Carrie, who was just stupid. There was literally no reason for the friends to exist, other than filler. Carrie was a local girl who wanted an education. She, and the novel, were so ridiculous I found myself wishing they’d just ban women from school so she could shut up for a bit. I’m a feminist, and the book made me wish women couldn’t go to school. Yeah. She was literally that annoying. I liked the mother, but only because she was the villain. (view spoiler)[I found myself rooting for her, hoping she was successful in killing Willie, in what was the most ridiculous scene ever. She went mad, wanted him back, tied him up and left him and his newborn baby sister to die. There was no real explanation given, it just sort of happened. I think, on a meta-level, it was to make sure the novel was filled with tragedy, as Willie is left ‘traumatized’ and the baby dies. The mother later kills herself. Unfortunately, the one person in the situation I wanted dead survives. I was raging. Willie is rescued by stupid Tom with his stupid fecking dog. When he is told his mother killed herself, he has no idea why someone would want to do that, but then forgets about her a chapter later, so obviously doesn’t care. I know she tried to kill him, but he’s still a child, and she’s his mother. She raised him, and he doesn’t give a shit about her death. I’m not saying he should be devastated, but it should at least stay with him or upset him or something. In real life, many people who were severely abused by their parents as children admit that they still love their parent. Life and relationships are complicated. Willie just seems to forget about it. Then, it becomes apparent that although there was a tragedy, there needed to be more. After all, it’s a book about World War Two. So Zack goes off the to the city, and shock horror, dies. Willie is devastated, but again, gets over it after a chapter, so obviously didn’t care all that much. I also did not care, and continued reading, glad to be near the end. The last scene was so cheesy I wanted to vomit. Like Willie did at his birthday, but in a less annoying way. It also involves Willie stealing his dead friend’s bike, which just shows what sort of a person he is. Unfortunately, if like me, you were hoping for one final tragedy, in which the bike crashes into a grenade, blows up the whole town and kills everyone in the novel, you will be severely disappointed. It ends with Willie calling Tom ‘Dad’, and being happily adopted. Oh well. (hide spoiler)] What I did learn from this novel is that the countryside is so much more superior than the city, but for the stupidest reason in the world. (view spoiler)[If you go the city, you will die, as seen not once, but twice in Goodnight Mister Tom. If you stay in the countryside, you will be safe. (hide spoiler)] However, I would go the city without question, because if the countryside is made up of the gobshites from this novel, I would happily face death in the city. Easily one of the worst books I’ve ever read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Liam

    such an emotional read wow i'm a mess !!! such an emotional read wow i'm a mess !!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Akcherrybomb

    A heartwarming and heartbreaking story. Really enjoyed following William's story of a war evacuee child and being placed with Mr Tom in little Weirwold. Both Mr Tom and Williams lives change for the better as they develop a bond and both come out of the shells. Both learn to trust again after hardships they have both faced  and develop into a lovely fatherly son team. Beautifully written and covers some sensitive topics. A heartwarming and heartbreaking story. Really enjoyed following William's story of a war evacuee child and being placed with Mr Tom in little Weirwold. Both Mr Tom and Williams lives change for the better as they develop a bond and both come out of the shells. Both learn to trust again after hardships they have both faced  and develop into a lovely fatherly son team. Beautifully written and covers some sensitive topics.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lydia Bailey

    A beautiful book written for children but just as enjoyable for grown ups. A real tear jerker though with some pretty harrowing scenes. I would definitely advise parents to read all the way through first. I’m not sure how this one passed me by as a bookworm child who read anything I could get my hands on- but it did - and I’m so glad to have found it now.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Aurélien Thomas

    In the tense period just before Britain enters what will be WWII, Will, a young boy from London, is sent as an evacuee to the country where he is going to live with Mr Tom, an uncommunicative and what seem to be (on the surface) a grumpy old man. Their encounter will change them both. It will, above all, radically change Will's life. Here's a great picture of what it must have been like living during those uncertain time, a picture also of the innocence of childhood ripped apart by a war yet to c In the tense period just before Britain enters what will be WWII, Will, a young boy from London, is sent as an evacuee to the country where he is going to live with Mr Tom, an uncommunicative and what seem to be (on the surface) a grumpy old man. Their encounter will change them both. It will, above all, radically change Will's life. Here's a great picture of what it must have been like living during those uncertain time, a picture also of the innocence of childhood ripped apart by a war yet to come. Heartfelt, here's a deep and disturbing read too, as it doesn't shy away from such a tough topic as child abuse (and in graphic detail at that). I have read this alongside one of my son (12 years old at the time of reading). He loved it and gave it a five star rating, despite regretting the ending chapters dragging in length (a point with which I agree). I would personally have given it a four star rating at best, but I am a grown up so maybe I found how the characters and the overall plot goes quite expected at times? Will's past and story really took me aback though... Whatever: here's a touching classic.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Donaldson

    I read this as part of a buddy read and am so pleased that I did. It was such a wonderful story, sometimes sad and harrowing in places but also uplifting. I cried tears of sadness and happy tears too.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Coyle

    A children's World War II story about a young boy who is an evacuee from London's East End to a country village. This story warmed my heart and made me well up when this lonely, unloved boy learns to love and trust and to become loved. It is a sweet read about healing and definitely my favorite book this January 2015! A children's World War II story about a young boy who is an evacuee from London's East End to a country village. This story warmed my heart and made me well up when this lonely, unloved boy learns to love and trust and to become loved. It is a sweet read about healing and definitely my favorite book this January 2015!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Philomena Callan Cheekypee

    A must read for everyone. If you don't read it then you should watch the movie. This story needs to be told. My sons had to read this at school. As I love to read i read this while both of them read it. I have watched the movie a few times with them also. Rearranging my books I came across this and couldn't resist re reading it. Truly an amazing read. A must read for everyone. If you don't read it then you should watch the movie. This story needs to be told. My sons had to read this at school. As I love to read i read this while both of them read it. I have watched the movie a few times with them also. Rearranging my books I came across this and couldn't resist re reading it. Truly an amazing read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    The Dusty Jacket

    Thomas Oakley was well into his sixties when the Billeting Officer knocked on his front door. To the people in his village of Little Weirwold, Thomas was an isolated, bad tempered, and frosty man, but to the officer, he was the perfect fit for this particular evacuee. Eight-year-old William Beech had come with specific instructions from his mother: either place him with a religious person or near a church. Thomas Oakley fit the bill perfectly. So Thomas, a man withdrawn by choice and grief, and Thomas Oakley was well into his sixties when the Billeting Officer knocked on his front door. To the people in his village of Little Weirwold, Thomas was an isolated, bad tempered, and frosty man, but to the officer, he was the perfect fit for this particular evacuee. Eight-year-old William Beech had come with specific instructions from his mother: either place him with a religious person or near a church. Thomas Oakley fit the bill perfectly. So Thomas, a man withdrawn by choice and grief, and William, a boy withdrawn by abuse and neglect, found themselves together and slowly healing in each other’s company. But when Thomas loses touch with William after being summoned back to live with his mother, Thomas embarks on a journey to find the young boy who had become like a son to him. I always hold out hope that books for young adults that have important themes may somehow find a way into the hands of younger readers. I thought this might be possible with Good Night, Mr. Tom. Although it carried warnings of child abuse, war, and death, the first part of the book was rather benign and contained mild implications of these subjects: the blacked-out windows, bruises and sores on William’s body, William’s fear of reprisal and constant nightmares, and reports on the wireless or in newspapers. However, once William is reunited with his mother, the tone of the book shifts dramatically and it becomes terrifyingly obvious why this book is recommended for more mature readers. The imagery is horrific and quite contrary to the idyllic life William experienced in Weirwold, which makes it all the more shocking and appalling when William has to relive this horror for a second time. Magorian, quite deservedly, received the 1982 IRA Children’s Book Award for Good Night, Mr. Tom. She fearlessly delves into the psychological trauma that follows prolonged mental and physical abuse, as well as the impact it has not only on the abused themselves, but also on those around them offering support, healing, friendship, and love. She also explores the emotional toll of the war on a small village as young men are called to service while their loved ones patiently await word of their wellbeing. Thankfully, Magorian gives her readers sufficient mental breaks by balancing tense, emotionally exhaustive scenes with lighthearted moments shared between friends and family. It’s this back-and-forth that makes for a fast-paced story that doesn’t pull any punches in delivering an impassioned, tragic, and dramatic story. Good Night, Mr. Tom immerses readers with a story about bonds and their importance and fragility. For the first time in his life, William has a best friend, Zach, who values his company, admires his differences, and treasures his friendship. Also, William finally has a parental figure in whom he can trust and depend. Magorian’s overall lesson in her compelling and powerful story is the healing power that comes with unconditional love. William’s mother taught him that love came with strings (“Mum had said that if he made himself invisible, people would like him and he wanted that very much.”), but his friends in Weirwold and Mr. Tom showed him the beauty and power of a love given completely and unselfishly. The Persian lyric poet Hafiz once wrote, “Even after all this time the sun never says to the earth ‘you owe me.’ Look what happens with a love like that. It lights the whole sky.” Zach’s kindness and Mr. Tom’s devotion remind us that even in the midst of war and surrounded by the darkest of black shades, love’s light shines bright and can heal even the most damaged and tortured soul.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kadi P

    *Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review* Joining the ranks of John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars comes Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight Mister Tom, a touching tale of wartime woes. Willie Beech was a fantastic protagonist. It was wonderful to see him grow in this coming of age story and his relationship with both Mister Tom and Zack were very genuine and sweet. He had such a transformation in cha *Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review* Joining the ranks of John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars comes Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight Mister Tom, a touching tale of wartime woes. Willie Beech was a fantastic protagonist. It was wonderful to see him grow in this coming of age story and his relationship with both Mister Tom and Zack were very genuine and sweet. He had such a transformation in character that it was great to see how he gradually picked up the town accent and Zach’s phrases and smiled more. Even the way the narration stopped calling him Willie and started calling him Will was a really lovely gesture to show his character’s progression. Mister Tom was also a great character. Although he was viewed by others as grumpy and secluded, from the outset I found that he was kind to Willie in an unconventional way. Even before he realised that Willie was sensitive and traumatised Mister Tom was never mean, it was simply part of his nature to be blunt. In fact, he had quite a few hilariously blunt quips throughout the book and I loved his unexpected sassy remarks. It was amazing to see how much he grew throughout the book too. And the insight this 40th anniversary special gave us into his relationship with his wife (through the inclusion of the short story) was sweet and very tragic. Speaking of additional features in this 40th anniversary edition, the new introduction from the author was lovely. Not only did it explain the concept of sewing children into their clothes (something that confused me in the story) but it also explained the origin of the story. And that’s something that’s always interesting to read about. One thing I distinctly noticed was how groundbreaking this book must’ve been when it was first published 40 years ago. It touched on so many subjects which would’ve been taboo at the time (and some that are still taboo now) and had Willie face all these difficult things to put a spin on it. It didn’t end with a happily ever after (and this was the one time I would’ve permitted, nay encouraged, a book to) but it was extremely cathartic and wonderfully moving.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    This book has been around for 40 years and is a little younger than me. It has unfortunately taken me 40 years to read it. Not that I was unaware of the title or the positive impression it had on my daughter reading it as a teenager. I think I can also remember my children enthusing over a TV adaptation with John Thaw as the title character. What a pleasure to read it for myself and suggest it was my great loss not to have picked it up beforehand. A story ideally simulated to a young reader which This book has been around for 40 years and is a little younger than me. It has unfortunately taken me 40 years to read it. Not that I was unaware of the title or the positive impression it had on my daughter reading it as a teenager. I think I can also remember my children enthusing over a TV adaptation with John Thaw as the title character. What a pleasure to read it for myself and suggest it was my great loss not to have picked it up beforehand. A story ideally simulated to a young reader which champions the life of one boy forced to leave London as an evacuee. Tom Oakley is an elderly man; a bit of a loner and stuck in his ways. He is reluctant to take this frail boy in but as he has a room free is obliged to do his bit. What happens thereafter is a heartwarming adventure of people being forced to change by circumstances but finding in the process genuine loyalty and trust in another person which without any sloppiness is clearly perfect love. Such a contrast in the lives of people coming to terms with the early days of World War II. Many children couldn’t settle in the countryside and ran away but despite many mishaps and difficult times young William and Tom strike an unbreakable bond. To receive love you first have to be brave enough to love and care for others. This story shows even then things can be unpicked and even unconditional love can be betrayed. But there are so many uplifting moments here that it has understandably become a classic. I loved the opportunity that this edition also brings with insights from the author. There is nothing contrived or illusionary here but a story that captures life in dark times, difficult circumstances and reflects reality and the struggles of growing up.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amber Scaife

    8-year-old Willie is one of the many London children evacuated to the countryside during WWII. He gets placed with the town curmudgeon, Mr. Tom, and thus a beautifully unlikely pair is born. Willie comes from a poverty-stricken part of London and has been physically and mentally abused by his mother. He's small and thin and weak; he's also far behind where he should be in school. But Mr. Tom, despite his gruff exterior (forged by his own tragic backstory), is all kindness and gentleness when it 8-year-old Willie is one of the many London children evacuated to the countryside during WWII. He gets placed with the town curmudgeon, Mr. Tom, and thus a beautifully unlikely pair is born. Willie comes from a poverty-stricken part of London and has been physically and mentally abused by his mother. He's small and thin and weak; he's also far behind where he should be in school. But Mr. Tom, despite his gruff exterior (forged by his own tragic backstory), is all kindness and gentleness when it comes to caring for the boy, and Willie soon starts to thrive. He makes friends, finds confidence in himself, and learns that love isn't terrifying or painful. But then his mother writes that she wants him back home and both he and Mr. Tom have some heavy decisions to make. Oh, but this is a lovely book. I have an absolute soft spot for Evacuated London Children stories, and this is one of the best. Not only is the relationship between Willie and Mr. Tom so very well crafted, but all the other members of the small country village have depth and their stories are lovingly told as well. It's a perfect mix of heartbreaking and happy-making without being at all saccharine. Highly recommended.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura Harrison

    This is a sad and powerful read. It takes hold of you from the earliest pages and doesn't let go. There is big time child abuse in this book. I was a crying mess for much of it. Not sure I would recommend it to very young or sensitive children. Heck-sensitive people in general. It is top notch writing and the imagery really stays with you. Amazing author. Btw, there is a film version. It does the book justice. Have a box of tissues at the ready. Maybe two. This is a sad and powerful read. It takes hold of you from the earliest pages and doesn't let go. There is big time child abuse in this book. I was a crying mess for much of it. Not sure I would recommend it to very young or sensitive children. Heck-sensitive people in general. It is top notch writing and the imagery really stays with you. Amazing author. Btw, there is a film version. It does the book justice. Have a box of tissues at the ready. Maybe two.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    Listen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/... At Phoenix Theatre, West End this month: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/goodn... What a horrible mother. Zack! Noooooooooooo! Listen here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/... At Phoenix Theatre, West End this month: http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/goodn... What a horrible mother. Zack! Noooooooooooo!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Floor Flawless

    Old but gold! I totally understand why it won the Guardian Children's Fiction prize and that it is adapted to a musical and film. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I listened to the audiobook, but I hope to find a physical copy someday. Old but gold! I totally understand why it won the Guardian Children's Fiction prize and that it is adapted to a musical and film. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I listened to the audiobook, but I hope to find a physical copy someday.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Miz

    Re-read this as an adult for book club and it was just as delightful as ever. I was surprised how emotional I was and how invested I was in their lives! Great, timeless book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    R.J. Rodda

    A childhood favourite that I still find incredibly moving. A beautiful story of an evacuated town boy finding hope and love in the country.

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