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Billy the Kid Paperback – Illustrated, 5 Jan 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks; New Ed edition (5 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007105479
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007105472
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'a thrilling and moving story about a Chelsea footballer who gets caught up in the ravages of the Second World War, with the focus on the Beautiful Game as a common bond that can link nations and generations.’ Foreman's shimmering watercolours and line, so agile and expressive, are a perfect match for Morpurgo's assured and memorable narrative. This is a book that will be treasured by any child or teacher learning about the Second World War.' TES

'It's wonderful!' Kate Agnew

'Michael Morpurgo, whose command of his material is absolute, told with all the author's open-hearted clarity, and richly illustrated by Michael Foreman.'
Guardian

'A story that combines football and war. It is a lot like an afternoon at Stamford Bridge, and ideal for football fans aged eight and over.' Daily Telegraph 'If you just love good stories, stunning pictures and beautiful books, you'll want this book for your own.' Young Writer.

From the Back Cover

`I was faster than all the kids twice my age and somehow I could always make a football d whatever I wanted it to. It just came easy to me, I don't know why, but it did.'

The only thing Billy every wanted to do was to play for Chelsea. His dream came true when he was picked for the team - but that was 1939, and the Second World War began, and then Billy's life. Like everyone else's, was changed for ever.

Billy's no kid now - he's eighty today. But he's got memories, such memories...

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 28 Aug. 2000
Format: Hardcover
I have just finisihed reading this book to my three children, aged 9,8 and 5 and they all sat engrossed throughout not wanting me to stop. It is the story of the life of a Chelsea Pensioner and takes us from his childhood, as a football mad Chelsea supporter, through his WWII service to the present day. The book tackles some difficult issues, such as the concentration camps, but it is done in such a way that even the youngest of my children had no difficulty in dealing with the story. It is a truly wonderful book which takes the reader through the highs and lows of Billy's life and makes you laugh and cry throughout. The illustrations are excellent and when I finished reading it the children went back to look at the pictures again and again. I cannot recommend this book too highly.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book for my 5 and 7 year old boys judging that it was suitable for their age range based on the cover illustration (after all books don't often have age guidance on the backs!). Pretty soon we were into some fairly serious issues about war and alcoholism. I hadn't intended talking to them about the Holocaust until they were a bit older, but the main character is present at the liberation of Belsen.... so we had a lot of discussion about why people do terrible things to others. Anyway I had some concerns that the subject matter was a bit too old for them, but shortly after we finished the book something rather interesting happened that made me so glad we'd read it. As I left school one day a very drunk woman came staggering towards us swearing and shouting abuse. Of course, the children were fascinated and stood staring, whilst I was trying to drag them off before she started giving us too much attention. Later the boys couldn't stop talking about it, particularly her prolific use of the 'f' word. My son asked me if the woman was drunk, and when I confirmed that she was, he asked "Do you think something awful happened to her, like Billy the Kid, and that's why she's drinking, so she'll forget?".

Michael Morpurgo is excellent at developing imperfect adult characters - just like the adults in real children's lives, and I've seen how it helps them make sense of the world around them. We also saw him at the Hay Festival this year - he was wonderfully entertaining for both adults and children and again opened my sons' eyes to a whole new world..... I would recommend this book very highly, but be prepared that the subject matter is not easy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like "Kensuke's Kingdom" Michael Morpurgo gently introduces his young readers to the horrors of World War II: this time through the eyes of a Chelsea Pensioner who was a crack player for Chelsea FC before joining up. Plenty of football for young fans but not too much. Moments of great joy mingle with episodes of great sadness; the illustrations by Michael Foreman are exquisite. My ten year old could not put it down.
Uplifting.
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When I think of Chelsea and books, I think 80s hooligans or 21st century mush and gush...billy the kid is the story that could put that club in a new positive light......the twists and turns....most tragic..war and another victim of terrible circumstance. A story of a life that anyone on our planet could endure. All at the hands of our twisted leaders!....great message about family..and how important to tell your kids ...we are all the same...Don't listen to they are a threat..invaded..or its good for the country..while getting us to wave flags....they who tell us are and always have been.....mad.!!!!!......all.human beings just are.....one and the same....national pride.?????? Billy the kid is warm, humane....sad...
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By Anon on 25 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
Not a bad book but beware if reading it to your children. My sons school recommended monpurgo books and I read this to my six year old son but I wasnt ready for:

The main characters brother dying in the war
Italians who harboured the main character put up against a wall and shot at point blank range (together with an illustration of the shooting just in case the full horror hadnt sunk in)
Description of dying and dead people at a concentration camp
Main characters entire family being killed by a bomb falling on their house
Main character becoming an alcoholic

Really dont think this is suitable for primary age kids.
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Format: Paperback
This book was amazing! I really, really loved it. It was brilliantly written. I enjoyed it so much, even though I didn't think that I would. It is the moving story of a pensioner who fought in WW2, but had wanted to be a footballer.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love all Michael Morpurgo's books but this one surpassed all my expectations!!! Even better, if that is possible, than War Horse and Private Peaceful. Even if you don't like football, you cannot be unaffected by this amazing story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book, as my 9 year-old was learning about WW2 at school. My son is dyslexic and find books difficult to read and retaining information. Although I read it to him, he was so engrossed in it that he was recalling the story we had read so far on his way to school each day. Every evening, he was asking me to read him some more of the book before he went to bed.

It is superbly written, in an almost non fictional sense, and I did shed a tear towards the end!

Definitely one to be recommended.
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