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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably Westall's best, but I'm prepared to discuss!!!
I never tire of recommending Westall to readers (and the parents of readers), he is one of my favourite authors for children, and this is probably his best book - although I can't actually think of a BAD one! One of his best qualities is that he never talks down to his audience. This particular book is probably appropriate for age 11+, as there is a little bit of sex in...
Published on 15 Mar. 2005 by The Librarian

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
soso
Published 8 months ago by Peter


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63 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably Westall's best, but I'm prepared to discuss!!!, 15 Mar. 2005
This review is from: Blitzcat (Paperback)
I never tire of recommending Westall to readers (and the parents of readers), he is one of my favourite authors for children, and this is probably his best book - although I can't actually think of a BAD one! One of his best qualities is that he never talks down to his audience. This particular book is probably appropriate for age 11+, as there is a little bit of sex in it, and it does deal with adult emotions of all kinds, but he has written for much younger kids too, and his touch is always sure. Blitzcat gives children the feeling of being trusted with grown-up material, without boring or disturbing them.
The story is told in episodic form, each encounter that the cat has being a discrete tale, complete in itself, but adding up to a deeply satisfying whole.(It would make a great TV series! - Come on, some scriptwriter somewhere!!) Three of Westall's favourite things are ghosts (he writes AMAZINGLY good ghost stories), cats, and the World War II setting, and here he manages to use 2 out of 3!! He explores "psi-trailing", the term given to the way cats have been known to find their owners again after being separated, in some cases by hundreds of miles. Here the cat sets off to look for her "special person", and all along the way she touches the lives of others, from the miserable, lonely housewife, to two farmers trying to rescue their horses from the hell of the firebombing of Coventry, from the scared young men facing nightly anti-aircraft fire in their bomber to the doomed UXB squad. It's very exciting, deeply moving in parts, reads aloud brilliantly, and is a children's classic.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Long live Lord Gort!, 16 Sept. 2008
By 
This review is from: Blitzcat (Paperback)
Lord Gort is a female black cat, growing up in WWII England. She is quite happy in lazing in and around the house of her owner, until the young man disappears to fulfil his duties of war. Reluctantly, she leaves the suddenly deserted home and begins her search for her companion, made possible through psi-tracking: a debatable and paranormal quality that enables cats to find their owners over hundreds of miles. Her journey leads her all over the country, living off of kills, corned beef and housing up with various surprised humans along the way.

The striking quality of `Blitzcat' is that the main character (Lord Gort) is believable, loveable and undeniably an animal, meaning that the author has cleverly portrayed a cat's perspective with what feels like little to no human bias. The cat is the thread that draws the random human characters together and serves as a cunning tool to lure the young reader into learning about the lives of British people during the war.

This read is borderline Year 6 due to the hard content and upsetting turn of events that may be too much for the sensitive pupil. But for a child that is interested in world events (WWII) and 20th century history, this vivid and real book offers a gateway to the further study of history.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, 21 Sept. 2003
By 
T. Wilson (Sussex, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blitzcat (Paperback)
This book is truely unique. Robert Westall has managed to write a book with an animal as it's main characture without resorting to 'cutie-pie' Disneyesque characterization. The cat IS a cat; all the luck (good or bad) that follows her is purely down to human interpretation of events.
It brings to life the horror of Coventry during the blitz, the fear in flying bombers over Germany, and the terror of being shot down. It shows human nature, how people in times of hardship have to have an explanation for what's happening. It also gives hope.
The story is simple. Blitzcat (real name Lord Gort, although its a she) looses her owner; he's gone to fly Blenheims. She can sense him, and sets off to find him. She goes from Dover to north Norfolk to Coventry, at one point even gets shot down over Germany and then rescued from Portugal.
This is not just a children's book, Adults will enjoy every single word too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utter Genius, 23 Nov. 2009
By 
Skank Del Var (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blitzcat (Paperback)
No book could rival my all-time childhood favourite 'The Wind In The Willows'. Or so I thought.

While this outstanding work is probably a little hardline for under 12's, I'd recommend it unhesitatingly to any other reader as one of the finest childrens' books ever written.

Others have accurately summarised Blitzcat's engaging plot and high quality of authorship. I'd add that meticulous research and a deft sense of place conveys an evocative picture of British life in the dark days of 1940. Westall's sparse style allows the reader's imagination to carry them through a demanding story filled with danger, want and warmth.

Most importantly, you come to care deeply about the cat 'Lord Gort' and the well-rounded, sometimes flawed, yet always sympathetic characters she meets along her way. A modern classic I shall read again and again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of action, real people, wonderful cat., 8 Aug. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Blitzcat (Piper) (Paperback)
BLITZCAT
A very engaging read. Westall uses his love for cats to create an unassuming, naturally courageous and naturally 'knowing' heroine, whose long journey through wartime England in search of her 'person' is the thread that holds together the eight or nine self-contained vignettes of ordinary lives during the Blitz. The long trains full of shell-shocked men just out of Dunkirk, or the terror of burning Coventry and the plight of its refugees, can thus fit naturally into the same book as the young war widow who has given up on life, the frightened young rear gunner on endless bombing raids over the Channel, the young officer's wife in Dover who despite herself falls in love with the Scots sergeant whose men are billeted in her house, etc. Each vignette is sufficiently developed for the people to be real and memorable, and to give us a convincing feel for the everyday life of a nation at war. And to each person she encounters the black cat brings wisdom; call it 'luck'.
'Blitzcat' won the 1989 Smarties Prize in the 9-11 age category, but I imagine some 9-year-olds would find the adult concerns of the characters not very accessible. Apart from one incidental baby there is not a child in sight, for example. Perhaps the exploration of cat-hood makes up for this? More simply, I would recommend this book to readers of ANY age who are interested in history, in human reactions under stress - and who like cats!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Second World War Book with a Difference, 23 Sept. 2009
By 
Sir Furboy (Aberystwyth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Blitzcat (Paperback)
Lord Gort is a cat. Separated from her person, she sets out to find him and in the process meets a number of different people on different situations. Against this backdrop we have a set of short stories, all connected by the cat, and all revealing so much about war time Britain. Westall has researched the events well and describes actual war time events, such as the bombing of Coventry, to create a novel that transports the reader into a bygone era. This is a very good piece of writing, rich in historical detail.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book - makes me cry every time!, 31 Dec. 2009
By 
J. Edel (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Blitzcat (Paperback)
This book is a brilliant introduction to World War II for a reader of any age. Everything is seen from the point of view of the cat, allowing Westall more freedom to describe some of the horible things that happen in war time. The description of the bombing of Coventry is the best I have ever read and still brings a tear to my eye every time I read it even after almost twenty years! I would recommend this book (and have frequently bought it) for anyone of any age, from nine to ninety!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all favourite books, 7 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Blitzcat (Paperback)
Read this as a 13 year old, not long after out much love family cat died. I don't know if it was that which made it such a powerful book to me, but I absolutely loved it. I was so moved by it it still stays with me now. I recently booked it again after not being able to find my original copy. I've passed it round at work and everyone has commented on what a great moving story it is. I'm saving reading it again until I have a moment when I can really savour it and enjoy it. I am expecting lots of tears, smiles and shovers down my spine just as I got as a 13 year old.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars step on and up from the machine gunners, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: Blitzcat (Paperback)
I got this to read with my boys (9 and 11) who loved the Machine Gunners and we haven't been let down. It's excellent BUT, it is far more detailed and advanced than the Machine Gunners is. A few bits are quite gruesome and I'd definitely say that the reading age is much closer to my elder son's than my younger one's, probably even older. Adults would enjoy the book too.
An excellent book, but not such an adventure book like the MG, much more a combination of different tales woven together with a fair bit of the gruesome horrors of war thrown in too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For children, 19 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Blitzcat (Kindle Edition)
This was an excellent story. The use of a cat wandering around during the war is a fantastic way to show children what wartime Britain was like
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Blitzcat
Blitzcat by Robert Westall (Paperback - 8 Feb. 2002)
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