The Book Reviews – Website

August 30, 2009

Kensuke’s Kingdom

Filed under: *AWESOME BOOKS!!!,K — thebookreviews @ 8:01 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Kensuke’s Kingdom

Author: Michael Morpurgo

Page Length: 164

Reading Level: 5

Genre: Fiction

PLOT SUMMARY: When Michael’s parents receive the news that they are both being laid off, his family decides to sell everything they own, buy a boat, and sail around the world. Michael and his dog, Stella Artois, set out on a grand sailing adventure. Only sailing has its downside too. Tossed overboard, no one hears Michael’s cries for help. Will he make it to land? Will he be able to survive on his own? Will he ever see his family again?

REVIEW: This story was entertaining and perhaps most teachable because of the humanization of the characters within it. The reader is able to learn and grow with Michael while also learning to see another side of the typical historical perspective of war. Kensuke is a native of Nagasaki who ended up on this island during the war and has survived there alone for many years. He fears returning to the world he knew just as he has feared for many years that his family was destroyed in the bombing of Nagasaki. This book would work well in conjunction with the World War II part of US History class. The reader also experiences the fear of change and the unknown with both characters – which makes for a great discussion topic. The story is entertaining and lends itself well to the historical connections and many other excellent and thought provoking discussion points – I would recommend this novel as a classroom read for juniors (US History students).

AREAS FOR TEACHING: comparing text to self, compare and contrast, sequence of events, setting, conflict, resolution, historical connections, theme

RELATED BOOKS: Alone on a Wide, Wide Sea, Dolphin Boy, Why the Whales Came, Private Peaceful, My Friend Walter

MOVIE & ART CONNECTIONS:

Lifting the Fog: The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (1992)

Sailing artwork – http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/21/nyregion/21artct.html?_r=1

Castaway (2000 movie starring Tom Hanks)

RELATED WEBSITES:

http://www.michaelmorpurgo.org/

http://www.war-letters.com/

http://www.private-art.com/

http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/bombing_of_nagasaki.htm

REVIEWED BY:  Dayna Taylor

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1 Comment »

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