The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield's father promised he wouldn't go away to fight but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn't know where his father might be, other than that he's away on a special, secret mission.Read more...
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The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield's father promised he wouldn't go away to fight but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn't know where his father might be, other than that he's away on a special, secret mission. Then, while shining shoes at King's Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father's name on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realizes his father is in a hospital close by a hospital treating soldiers with shell shock. Alfie isn't sure what shell shock is, but he is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place. . . .
This title has Common Core connections."
- ISBN-13: 9781627790314
- ISBN-10: 1627790314
- Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
- Publish Date: March 2014
- Page Count: 245
- Reading Level: Ages 9-12
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-01-06
- Reviewer: Staff
Boyne (The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket) delivers an original look at what was known as “shell shock” during WWI through the eyes of Alfie Summerfield, a milkman’s son in a working-class London neighborhood. Opening on Alfie’s fifth birthday, July 28, 1914 (the day the “fighting had started”) and closing on his 13th, the story focuses on the fall of 1918, when Alfie discovers that his father—who had enlisted, against his family’s wishes, and who Alfie fears is dead—is in a nearby hospital. Readers who persist through the relatively slow first half will be rewarded with the excitement of Alfie’s daring adventure of bringing his father home; the closing chapter reunites all the characters, movie-ending style, mending frayed or broken relationships and tying up the loose ends a little too neatly. The book’s strength lies in Alfie’s appeal as a perceptive, hardworking, loving, and brave boy; some of his neighbors are intelligently and engagingly fleshed out, as well. Boyne gracefully renders the opposing strong feelings the war inspired, but uneven pacing weakens the overall effect. Art not seen by PW. Ages 9–12. (Mar.)