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A book by Michelle Magorian, set in the village of Little Weirwold in Britain, during World War Two.
In September 1939 operation Pied Piper relocated 1.5 million people out of major cities. Among them is one William Beech, who is evacuated to live with Mr Thomas Oakley, a sour and gruff man who never really got over the loss of his wife and son. As the book progresses the abused and perpetually terrified William grows into a confident and well rounded young boy, whereas Mr Tom begins to open up again and becomes an active part of the community as well as caring deeply for William, helping him to stop wetting the bed, learn to read and helping him investigate his creative side: even going into an art shop, a place he had never been in since his wife, an artist, had died.
Contains examples of:
- Abusive Parents: Will's mother.
- Big Friendly Dog: Sammy
- Blitz Evacuees
- City Mouse
- Death by Newbery Medal: Poor Zach. Not, as one might have thought, Sammy.
- During the War
- Foreshadowing: When one os Miss Beech's neighbours is asked where she went, the lady states she said she was "going to the coast. A few chapters later, it is revealed she committed suicide.
- Fish Out of Water: Tom in London.
- Film of the Book: A TV movie was made in the early 2000s, and was quite loyal to the book.
- Grumpy Old Man: Tom, of course.
- Promotion to Parent: Tom. "He called me dad."
- Rage Against the Heavens: William's reaction when learning of the death of Zach.
- Title Drop
- Tomboy and Girly Girl Carrie and Ginnie.
- Wham! Episode: (Or rather chapter). There are two. The first, where William returns to London to find his mother insane and is left to die with his newborn sister (who does) is more predictable than the second -- after a series of "everything's all right again" chapters, Zach is suddenly called back to London and killed in an air raid.