Posted 20 hours ago

Cuckoo Summer

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Joined in 2023

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Given that Earle wrote WHEN THE SKY FALLS, one of my favourite wartime stories, as well as the more recently published WHILE THE STORM RAGES, which I also thoroughly enjoyed, my expectations were high. The crux of the story turns on their discovery of a wounded German airman who has parachuted from his plane and landed in their fields.

The characterisation is strong: it's not just Tommy and Sally who have back stories that plausibly inform their actions.With vicious Scarcross out to track the airman down, backed up by his Home Guard cronies, the decision becomes increasingly dangerous. He is a villain in the mould of some of the worst in children’s literature and quite terrifying at times. The lives of the people living on remote farms and the plight of evacuees sent to stay with people who should not be allowed near children are shockingly recounted. A great addition to the genre, carefully crafted, and bringing great gusts of Lakeland hill farming with it . They hide him, from the Home Guard, the leader of whom is a man who fought in WW1, and has become bitter and twisted.

I have even talked the head into a little revamp of the library so that we can display them properly! This is the start of an adventure that will colour the summer and bring the war right into their lives. Set in a Lake District farming community in 1940, the story follows the adventure of two children, local boy Tommy - who tells the story - and Tyneside evacuee, Sally. Ross Welford introduces Time Travelling with a Tortoise, the sequel to Time Travelling with a Hamster, and a whole new time travel adventure!Descriptions of country life and of the Fells demonstrate tenderness, and the Cumbrian countryside is almost another secondary character, but these descriptions aren’t laboured. Ideal class read for y5/6/7 to compliment or introduce a study of WWII but any keen young reader will enjoy this story. An originality comes from the tender friendship between the two, particularly in the form of the language they use - the runaway in her Geordie accent and words, and the farmer's son in terms of his affinity with the natural landscape surrounding him.

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