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Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian
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Good Night, Mr. Tom (1981)

by Michelle Magorian

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,885545,467 (4.32)98
  1. 20
    The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (kiwiflowa)
    kiwiflowa: Another pre-teen book set in the same era.
  2. 10
    Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans (RoxieF)
    RoxieF: They both involve evacuees during WWII and in both books it brings out subtle changes in both evacuee and guardian.
  3. 00
    The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (2wonderY)
    2wonderY: very similar premise, also well done.
  4. 00
    The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren (Anonymous user)
  5. 11
    Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (bookel)
  6. 00
    Judgement Day by Penelope Lively (KayCliff)
  7. 00
    Kindertransport by Olga Levy Drucker (labfs39)
    labfs39: In both books, a child is sent to the English countryside for safety during WWII, and both deal with the relationships between child and caregiver. In Good night, Mr. Tom, the child is escaping the Blitz bombing in London; whereas in Kindertransport, the child is escaping Nazi Germany.… (more)
  8. 01
    A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (ramblingivy)
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» See also 98 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)


I just re-read this title with a small group of 8th graders, and while I still enjoyed the loving descriptions of country life and its salutary effects, I was a little disappointed in its reliance on Will's near superhuman ability to surmount the horrors of child abuse & wartime loss. That said, the kids really enjoyed it &, to them the relatively easy resolutions did not seem tired or unrealistic. We all agreed that it made good auxiliary reading to their study of WWII in Europe, as it takes place at the periphery. ( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |


I just re-read this title with a small group of 8th graders, and while I still enjoyed the loving descriptions of country life and its salutary effects, I was a little disappointed in its reliance on Will's near superhuman ability to surmount the horrors of child abuse & wartime loss. That said, the kids really enjoyed it &, to them the relatively easy resolutions did not seem tired or unrealistic. We all agreed that it made good auxiliary reading to their study of WWII in Europe, as it takes place at the periphery. ( )
  msmilton | Jul 18, 2018 |
This book would make a good companion to "The War That Saved My Life" since they both concern evacuees who come from abusive homes. Both books cover the fear and confusion which the evacuees experience when set into new, very different living circumstances. Will seems to experience more of that because he left home unwillingly, though with the loving patience of Mr. Tom he quickly begins to adjust. The children in both books are very lucky in the homes they are placed in. Neither home volunteered for the job, but both embraced the children when they were placed and both homeowners exhibited lots of patience and care with their charges. There were a couple of places in this book where the author abruptly abandoned a plot point and moved forward in an annoying manner. It would not have taken much, indeed only a few paragraphs, to finish the story, but that's not what happened. The reader is left wondering what happened, especially with the Christmas play and the Christmas chorale.

This book does a very good job of showing the confusion and grief that Will goes through with the return to his mother and the aftermath as well as over the death of his friend. If I could have asked for anything more (besides the above plot points) I would have asked to see some of Will's drawings. I longed to see them. Recommended. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Jan 7, 2018 |
Michelle Magorian's GOOD NIGHT, MR. TOM has been around for over thirty-five years now, so I had been aware of it. Found it at a book sale a few months back, so thought I would try it, because I'm usually quite interested in books that concern the Second World War. And this one does, in that it is about an eight year-old boy from the London slums who is evacuated to an English village in the country in the early days of WWII. This became a fairly common practice during the war, and of course it caused a lot of pain in the separation of families. Magorian's small protagonist, Willie Beech, is a different sort of case, however. He came from horrible circumstances, underfed and unloved, beaten and abused by his single mother, his stay with sixty-ish widower, Tom Oakley, in the village of Little Wierwold, is a major step up in his circumstances. The gruff but kind Mr. Tom senses immediately that here is a boy who could use some kindness and understanding, and immediately sets about seeing that he gets it. The boy begins meeting the various folk and families of the village, becomes gradually comfortable with animals - Tom has a dog and a horse - and gardening and a kinder, simpler way of life. A malnourished and fearful bed wetter who has yet to learn to read, Willie has a long way to go and much to learn, but it seems Mr. Tom is up to the task. People are kind and helpful, he makes a friend, etc.

And that's as far as I got, about a hundred pages in, before I decided that, while it's well-enough written and a sweet story, it just didn't engage me the way it might have when I was eleven or twelve. So I will pass it along to someone that age. Recommended, but for the pre-teen reader. It's simply not for me at this stage of my life. Onward and upward.

- Tim Bazzett, author of the memoir, BOOKLOVER ( )
  TimBazzett | Jun 12, 2017 |
Historical fiction at its finest. When Willie Beech is evacuated from London to avoid the bombings, Mr. Tom is reluctant to house the scrawny, abused boy. He wants to be left alone. But Willie captures his heart, eager to learn and please the older man. Magorian builds a setting so real, you feel you are there in the English countryside on the brink of WWII. Mr. Tom is a person you want to meet and Willie Beech is the child you want to love. Don't miss this splendid novel, full of a light that outshines the dark. ( )
  bookwren | May 11, 2017 |
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Dedication
To My Father
First words
"Yes," said Tom bluntly, on opening the door. "What d'you want?"
Quotations
(in hospital, Willie is sedated) "Why?" "To stop him from screaming." "Mebbe he needs to."
(nightmare scream) It sounded like a baby crying in despair, an old forgotten scream that must have been swallowed down years before.
Zach swayed gently saying the few Hebrew prayers that he remembered. It comforted him to sing the strange gutteral sounds. It was like uttering a magical language that would make everything alright.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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This is the book; do not combine with the film/movie.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006440174X, Paperback)

Winner of the 1982 IRA Children's Book Award

London is poised on the brink of World War II. Timid, scrawny Willie Beech--the abused child of a single mother--is evacuated to the English countryside. At first, he is terrified of everything, of the country sounds and sights, even of Mr. Tom, the gruff, kindly old man who has taken him in. But gradually Willie forgets the hate and despair of his past. He learns to love a world he never knew existed, a world of friendship and affection in which harsh words and daily beatings have no place. Then a telegram comes. Willie must return to his mother in London. When weeks pass by with no word from Willie, Mr. Tom sets out for London to look for the young boy he has come to love as a son.

‘A small, timid refugee from wartime London—and from a sadistic mother—and a lonely villager who has reluctantly accepted the child form a bond of love and trust that is deeply touching. Michelle Magorian has created a vivid cast for an English story with universal and timeless appeal.’ —Zena Sutherland, IRA Children’s Book Award Chair. ‘An engrossing, vividly detailed novel.’ —BL.

Winner, 1982 International Reading Association Children's Book Award
Notable Children's Books of 1982 (ALA)
1982 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)
1983 Fanfare Honor List (The Horn Book)
1982 Young Adult Editors' Choices (BL)
1983 Teachers' Choices (NCTE)
Notable 1982 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)
1988 Choices (Association of Booksellers for Children)
Children's Books of 1982 (Library of Congress)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:12 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A battered child learns to embrace life when he is adopted by an old man in the English countryside during the Second World War.

» see all 10 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140372334, 0141804041, 014132970X, 0141332255

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