The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips

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Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips

A lot of Michael Morpurgo’s novels for young readers have shared a common theme recently, and to a canon of work about the two World Wars that has included War Horse and Private Peaceful he adds the quietly impressive The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. His backdrop, meticulously researched and recreated as ever, is the evacuation of several South Coast villages in early 1944 to make way for American troops as they practice for the imminent D-Day landings.

Morpurgo focuses on the impact this upheaval has on one young twelve-year-old girl, Lily Tregenze, who lives on a farm in the village of Slapton with her mum and grandfather. Her world is made up of her local school, currently filled to bursting with London evacuees, and her adoration for Tips, her faithful cat companion. Tips is forever having litters of kittens and Lily is distraught when her dad, who’s away in the army, then her mum, drowns successive litters because they would be too many to keep and feed.

The biggest shock of the reality of living in Wartime Britain, however, comes when they find out they have to move to their Uncle George’s farm to make way for the army exercises. On the eve of their move, Tips goes missing. And for months afterwards it is only the kindness of a young American soldier and his army friend who help look Lily look for Tips that helps her get through the many changes and challenges in her life.

The reader is forewarned that there is a twist at the end of this story, that Lily has gone and done something amazing and maybe a little foolhardy, and half the fun of this book is guessing what that might turn out to be. Morpurgo is a genuinely talented storyteller. There is always the kernel of a great idea in his books that make him one of the best writers for children around today. (Age 8 and over) --John McLay

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