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Goodnight Mister Tom (1981)

by Michelle Magorian

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,206615,415 (4.29)117
A battered child learns to embrace life when he is adopted by an old man in the English countryside during the Second World War.
  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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Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
Will is an evacuee from London, living in the country away from the impending war. Will is a slight boy, severely abused by his mother, frightened of everything and unsure of his own place and self. He is assigned to live with Tom, a gruff 60-ish man who has spent the last 40 years grieving the death of his young wife and their baby. Under Mr. Tom's care and the support of the villagers, Will grows hale, hearty and confident, while Tom himself opens up from his loner ways. I was concerned at first that this would be overly sentimental but readers who enjoyed "The War That Saved My Life" may enjoy the parallel coming-of-age themes. Contemporary kids may be confused by the war references and terminology (putting up the blacks, carrying gas masks, etc.) unless they already know some background info about wartime living. ( )
  Salsabrarian | Jul 14, 2021 |
Just as great as the first time I read it. ( )
  nagshead2112 | Apr 27, 2021 |
Just as great as the first time I read it. ( )
  nagshead2112 | Apr 27, 2021 |
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. ( )
  electrascaife | Apr 5, 2021 |
Well written. ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
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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A battered child learns to embrace life when he is adopted by an old man in the English countryside during the Second World War.

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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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