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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. 5 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.

  2. 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. :)

  3. 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...

  4. 4 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Persephone

    BEWARE SPOILERS AHEAD I really hated this book. I mean really hated. Willie Beech is a complete Mary Sue, except for the fact he's a 9 year old boy. He is way too perfect. He is amazing at everything he attempts, despite his situation (writing, maths, acting, socialising, art.) It's just too unbelievable. His friends are incredibly boring, George and Ginny had no personality, Carrie was simply a token feminist and Zach was the only one who was written semi-decently, but he was just so irritating. BEWARE SPOILERS AHEAD I really hated this book. I mean really hated. Willie Beech is a complete Mary Sue, except for the fact he's a 9 year old boy. He is way too perfect. He is amazing at everything he attempts, despite his situation (writing, maths, acting, socialising, art.) It's just too unbelievable. His friends are incredibly boring, George and Ginny had no personality, Carrie was simply a token feminist and Zach was the only one who was written semi-decently, but he was just so irritating. I didn't shed a tear when he died. Willie didn't react realistically to his abuse at all, I felt. The child was physically, mentally and emotionally abused. He was locked up with his dying sister for ages. When rescued, he was emotionally traumatised in hospital, so far believable. What really bothered me was the hospital scene. The nurses were putting Willie to sleep in an attempt to not bother the other children and overcome his trauma. Tom, who wasn't his legal guardian by the way, or a psychologist, insisted all he needed was fresh, country air. I'm not an expert myself, but I can assume fresh air is not the appropriate care for a child abused so much. Tom also insisted on bringing a dog into the hospital. A dog. Into a hospital. With sick patients. Never mind the germs, Tom wants his dog. It really annoyed me. After his hospital stay, Willie made a miraculous recovery. Within weeks, he was perfectly cured. Unrealistic, considering the immense abuse he suffered. When he discovered his mother killed herself, all he can think is why someone would kill themselves. He had so much to live for, therefore everyone did. That is really the last he thinks of his mother and sister for that matter. I felt Zach's death was really just for the sake of it. It was almost as if there was nothing else to do for the end if the novel. A death in a book, especially that of a child, should be necessary and unavoidable. His just seemed like a filler. Overall, a really terrible book. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, unless as a guide for how not to write a novel.

  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. 4 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. 5 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette (Again)

    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.

  13. 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

  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. 5 out of 5

    Liam

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

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

  18. 4 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 5 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!

  21. 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.

  22. 4 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.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    c1939-1940, Great Britain Powerful. Allegedly a book for young readers but it should appeal to everyone. Simply because the main character is a boy, doesn't mean an adult wouldn't enjoy it. In fact, adults should appreciate it even more since we've all experienced a childhood. [Conversely, I don't understand why we expect kids to read book with adult characters (I'm thinking of the hard-core classics).] The story starts when Great Britain is on the brink of war and children are evacuated to the co c1939-1940, Great Britain Powerful. Allegedly a book for young readers but it should appeal to everyone. Simply because the main character is a boy, doesn't mean an adult wouldn't enjoy it. In fact, adults should appreciate it even more since we've all experienced a childhood. [Conversely, I don't understand why we expect kids to read book with adult characters (I'm thinking of the hard-core classics).] The story starts when Great Britain is on the brink of war and children are evacuated to the countryside. So, from the very beginning, we feel the impact of the war at a very personal level. There's minimal about the politics of the situation or actual battles. But, this is solid introductory material. If the impact of war isn't heavy enough, here too, is child abuse, extreme religious fundamentalism, sexuality, death, suicide, women's role/rights ... lots for young minds to consider. What would 'my younger self' have thought of this? It's so different from my own childhood, that I know it would have been an eye opener. I think it would have been one of those books that I was drawn to read and re-read. There's so much to the story that it never gets boring, and the characters are well-drawn. (If anything, the kids are almost too good and accepting of differences.) The story begins, ... "Yes," said Tom bluntly, on opening the front door, "What d'you want?" A harassed middle-aged woman in a green coat and felt hat stood on his step. He glanced at the armband on her sleeve. She gave him an awkward smile. "I'm the Billeting Officer for this area," she began, ... Tom noticed a small boy at her side. "It's him I've come about," she said. About the cover: I don't like it. Neither Tom nor Will fit the images in my mind. I prefer the covers that show the characters in silhouette.

  24. 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.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    On September 1, 1939, Operation Pied Piper commenced and thousands of children were evacuated from London to the English countryside to keep them safe from the war that was just beginning. Among the evacuees to Little Weinwold is William Beech, 8, left in the care of Tom Oakley, a widower and a rather crusty loner. William is much to small for his age, frightened of everything and covered in black and blue bruises. Inside he duffel, Tom find a belt with a large buckle and instructions to use it On September 1, 1939, Operation Pied Piper commenced and thousands of children were evacuated from London to the English countryside to keep them safe from the war that was just beginning. Among the evacuees to Little Weinwold is William Beech, 8, left in the care of Tom Oakley, a widower and a rather crusty loner. William is much to small for his age, frightened of everything and covered in black and blue bruises. Inside he duffel, Tom find a belt with a large buckle and instructions to use it on William whenever he sees fit. Appalled by what he sees that first day, Mr. Tom, as he tells William to call him, begins to soften towards the boy, taking him out and buying him some appropriate clothing and boots, feeding him well and doctoring the bruises. As William's body heals, he comes out of his frightened shell and even develops a fondness for Mr. Tom's dog Sammy. But William has a bed-wetting problem that continues despite everything. Soon William meets Zach, another evacuee, and they become best friends. And other kids begin to join in on their fun. And it turns out that William is quite a talented artist, receiving some art supplies from Mr. Tom for his ninth birthday. Things go well until school starts. It turns out that William cannot read, that in London his teachers ignored him and the other students taunted him. When all his friends to into their proper class, William is put in with the younger kids who are just beginning school. Mr. Tom begins to teach him to read and by the end of the term, William has conquered not just reading but his bed-wetting problem as well. Life for William, Mr. Tom and Sammy the dog has evolved into a comfortable, happy companionship and Mr. Tom has even begun to participate in village activities again, something he hasn't done in forty years after the death of his wife and new baby son, also named William. But one day a letter arrives from William's mother, asking for her son to come home for a visit. And it is with very heavy hearts that Mr. Tom and William say good-bye at the train. William is laden with all kinds of lovely, friendly gifts for his mother as he leave and promises to write to Mr. Tom as soon as he can. When weeks go by and not letter arrives, Mr. Tom and Sammy take the train to London to find out if things are going well for William, arriving just at the Blitz begins. And yes, he does find him - locked in a closet, tied up to a pipe in it and holding a baby who turns out to be his illegitimate sister. Traumatized and blaming himself for the baby's death, William is taken to a hospital. Mr. Tom keeps watch and makes himself useful when people injured by the bombing are brought in. After a few days, however, he is told that William is going to be transferred to a home where he will be given psychiatric treatment. Not agreeing that this is the best thing for William, Mr. Tom resorts to something desperate. Will the two ever make it back to Little Weinwold or is this the end of things for Mr. Tom and William? Good Night, Mr. Tom is Michelle Magorian's first novel. It was written in 1981 and hasn't lost any of its appeal nor does it have a dated feeling. It is probably her most well-known work, particularly since it has been made into a television movie (ITV in the UK, Masterpiece Theater in the US, and with John Thaw, a favorite) and a play. I have read Good Night, Mr. Tom a few times and never get tired of it. The writing is elegant, and Magorian has great talent in fleshing out her characters so that they are believable and well-developed. And the same can be said for her settings, actually. Magorian also has a way of presenting difficult issues without getting too graphic or going overboard. In this novel alone, there are issues of abuse, bullying, anti-Semitism, skewed religious beliefs, the death of children and suicide. These are dreadful things, and yet not presented in such a way that they will disturb young readers, but enough is said to make this book appeal to an adult reader as well. And in the end, it is a novel of healing, hope, love and trust, and these are the issues that predominate, even without a really pat ending. If you haven't read Good Night, Mr. Tom, be warned - it is a tearjerker, but oh, so worth it. But there is much in the story that will make you chuckle, especially William's very outgoing friend Zack, whom I haven't mentioned much even though he is a good part of the book and who makes me smile just thinking about him. This old favorite is worthy of a first read if you haven't already read it, or worthy of another read if you have read it before. This book is recommended for readers age 12+ This book was purchased for my personal library

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sara Darr

    I remember reading this book whilst I was at primary school and again at secondary school when I developed a keen interest in history. Magorian tells the story of Will Beech, an evacuee who is placed in the hands of Mr Tom Oakley at the start of WWII. However after spending a few months in the countryside, he is summoned back home to his mother where he is subjected to abuse, until he is rescued by Mr Tom. At first, you sense uncertainty as to what will become of Will and Tom but then as the sto I remember reading this book whilst I was at primary school and again at secondary school when I developed a keen interest in history. Magorian tells the story of Will Beech, an evacuee who is placed in the hands of Mr Tom Oakley at the start of WWII. However after spending a few months in the countryside, he is summoned back home to his mother where he is subjected to abuse, until he is rescued by Mr Tom. At first, you sense uncertainty as to what will become of Will and Tom but then as the story unravels it shows the development in both their characters and just how wonderful and how strong their relationship becomes. The storyline is quite saddening but yet so touching and powerful at capturing emotion in the reader. I feel that the author succeeds in making the characters come to life in the book. Her writing is descriptive and full of emotion, it really got my imagination going when picturing what some of the characters might look like together with their personalities. I have also watched the tv adaptation to the book and I think it would be a great resource to use with possibly Y6 to compare and discuss the similarities and differences. This book would be an excellent resource for history with cross curricular link in literacy (writing a diary/letter as an evacuee), drama (re-enacting/creating alternative scenes from the book), d&t (use of materials/constructing air raid shelters in the 21st century ) and pshe (discussing children in conflict).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Shayney Hardcastle

    What can I truly say about this book? This book is such an emotional and beautiful masterpiece that should be read by everyone, especially when you're a child and then again as an adult. This book teaches you about so much and when I finished reading this book, I was left thinking about countless of things. The innocence only a child has, mixed with the anger and rage of the war. So much truth, made this book just heated with emotion. As an adult reading this book you can see everything and under What can I truly say about this book? This book is such an emotional and beautiful masterpiece that should be read by everyone, especially when you're a child and then again as an adult. This book teaches you about so much and when I finished reading this book, I was left thinking about countless of things. The innocence only a child has, mixed with the anger and rage of the war. So much truth, made this book just heated with emotion. As an adult reading this book you can see everything and understand it all, that it breaks your heart to see such audacity occur to a child. It makes you ask questions and look at yourself. The two main characters, William and Tom, are so different at the start of this book, but by the time you get to the end of this book, they have become so similar. You can see how these two characters have developed throughout the entire book, as their development is as though it's part of the story. I can't point to anything negative to say about this book, because of how much great the writing, the plot, the characters, the story all is. This book just emotes so much. I saw the movie adaptation when I was younger and had such a strong bong with that movie, that I was hesitant to read this book because I didn't want those memories tainted. This book just added to those and is one of the closest and truest book to movie adaptations I have seen.

  28. 4 out of 5

    A.S.

    This story has the quintessential feel of a children's story. It has a simple plot, is sprinkled with sadness, has fantastic characters, and is wonderfully warm-hearted.  "Goodnight Mister Tom" is a story about an abused little boy, William Beech, who is sent to the London countryside as an evacuee to be kept safe from the London bombings during WWII. He is taken in by Tom Oakley, an older man who lives alone with his dog Sammy. The story that unfolds from there is perfect.  The way that Mister To This story has the quintessential feel of a children's story. It has a simple plot, is sprinkled with sadness, has fantastic characters, and is wonderfully warm-hearted.  "Goodnight Mister Tom" is a story about an abused little boy, William Beech, who is sent to the London countryside as an evacuee to be kept safe from the London bombings during WWII. He is taken in by Tom Oakley, an older man who lives alone with his dog Sammy. The story that unfolds from there is perfect.  The way that Mister Tom allows William to come out of his shell, and the way that Mister Tom, in turn, comes out of his will melt your ice-cold heart and on numerous occasions bring tears to your eyes. I mean, for most of the last 100 pages of the novel I was smiling while reading it. ACTUALLY SMILING.  I don't want to spoil anything by sharing any of the moments that are so perfect in the story, but I really, REALLY want to encourage you to read this sweet children's book if you haven't yet. "A Little Princess" is my favorite children's novel and one of my favorite stories of all time, and now this one is giving it a run for its money. NOW GO READ IT.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kingfan30

    I first came across this story many years ago when it was on the TV and fell in love with it then. I discovered after that it was based on a book, which I hunted out and read. So I was looking for something to read next and this grabbed my eye for a re-read. It really is a lovely story, which had me welling up at times. You can picture the boys confusion at never having been in the country and wondering what things were. I loved the way that Mister Tom becomes softer as the story goes on (althoug I first came across this story many years ago when it was on the TV and fell in love with it then. I discovered after that it was based on a book, which I hunted out and read. So I was looking for something to read next and this grabbed my eye for a re-read. It really is a lovely story, which had me welling up at times. You can picture the boys confusion at never having been in the country and wondering what things were. I loved the way that Mister Tom becomes softer as the story goes on (although I felt this was portrayed better in the TV adaption). The ending was different to how I remembered, but I am so glad that I gave this a second read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Mansi

    Wonderful book. Nine year old William Beech is evacuated from war torn London, in the midst of World War 2. He is sent to Little Weirwold to live with the lonely, grumpy, Thomas Oakley. During Will’s stay with Mister Tom, he learns many important life lessons academically, like to read and write and his talent for art and emotionally, such as learning to love and trust, gaining self -confidence and the importance of friendship. He experiences newfound luxuries, like a bed and full meals. When we a Wonderful book. Nine year old William Beech is evacuated from war torn London, in the midst of World War 2. He is sent to Little Weirwold to live with the lonely, grumpy, Thomas Oakley. During Will’s stay with Mister Tom, he learns many important life lessons academically, like to read and write and his talent for art and emotionally, such as learning to love and trust, gaining self -confidence and the importance of friendship. He experiences newfound luxuries, like a bed and full meals. When we are first introduced to Will, he is an introverted, scared, well-behaved boy who led a hard, cruel life under the care of his strict, over-religious mother. Will cannot read or write. The children in London called him “Silly Sissy Willie”, because he was always held back and restricted by his mother. Before the presence of Will in Mister Tom’s life, he was bitter, anti-social and gruff, due to the loss of his wife and son forty years ago with only his dog for company. The relationship between Mr Tom and Will is beautiful. I love the way it steadily develops throughout the novel. They are exactly what the other needs. I read this for English at school, and was wary of its' war undertones at first. It is incredibly well-written and easy to read, the characters are lovable and the story is interesting and moving. I wouldn't recommend the movie though - I fell over myself laughing at the sheer tackiness of it. It's a shame, because this novel has great potential to be a film.

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