This book is called KENSUKE’S KINGDOM, written by Michael Morpugo. It is about a boy called Michael whose father has an idea to travel the world on a ship when he lost his job. He made this decision because he wanted to spend more time with his family and because of their love of water. Michael and his mum were not too sure at first, but then really started looking forward to their adventure. On the day they had to go, the Peggy Sue (their ship) was loaded with their things, Michael had his best friend Eddie’s football and they all had their dog, Stella Artois. When they started on this trip they had a lot of fun going to Brazil, Africa and other countries that they had never had a chance to visit before. Michael’s Mum and Dad began to love playing chess and Michael was enjoying writing a Ship’s log recording experiences of everywhere he went… But bad things are going to happen! One night when Michael’s dad and mum were in their rooms, Michael and his dog Stella got swept overboard and Michael started swimming hard to cope with his ship, but, couldn’t because it was too fast! Michael starts to see sharks coming and one of them bites him and he becomes unconscious. In his unconsciousness, he and his dog drift to an island where a very old but considerate man lives. His name was Kensuke and he was living on this island on his own because his home got destroyed and he thought that his family was dead. In the mean time, Michael wakes up to find that his wounds are better but he also feels scared because he didn’t know this place and had not seen the man who healed him, relieved because he was quite happy to be out of the water and to be alive and surprised because he didn’t know how he got there. Michael finds fire glass, sticks and thin leaves to make a fire to get the attention of passing ships because he really wants to get out of there! Kensuke apparently had a problem with people lighting fires on his island and even worse he had a problem with Michael being there on that island with him. He had an incident with a few shooter men before and they hurt the Orang-utans and Gibbons. So, since then, he didn’t want anybody else other than his Orang-utans and Gibbons on his island! First he started shouting “Abunai! Dameda! Dameda!” (it basically means “ Danger! Forbidden! Forbidden!” in Japanese) because he thought that it would attract the men again. Then, he banished Michael and Stella to one end of the island. Michael found a cave and started to stay and sleep there, but the only problem was that there were mosquitoes around and they bit Michael a lot. Even though Kensuke had banished Michael, he took care of him by giving him clean and fresh water and food like raw fish and red bananas. And, after seeing the red sores on his leg, Kensuke gives Michael a wrap-around blanket that he can use to protect himself. One hot day, Michael was swimming in the sea and jumped very far out and got stung by a jellyfish! This incident brought Kensuke and Michael together because Kensuke healed Michael and when Michael finally healed, Kensuke and Michael stayed in the same cave. Michael taught Kensuke English and Kensuke taught Michael painting. Together they learnt from each other and started to like each other. Then…. the shooter men came again! They were shouting and shooting down the trees! When they went away the Orang-utans, Gibbons, Kensuke and Michael went searching for a small Orang-utan named Kikanbo who was lost and to their relief he was alive and came and hugged them! After this incident, Kensuke helps Michael build his beacon because he realizes that like Kikanbo’s mum was really worried, Michael’s mum would also be very worried. The very next day The Peggy Sue came back for Michael because of the beacon they made. And with that, Michael thanked Kensuke and said that he will always remember him. Michael’s parents thanked Kensuke for taking care of their son and also said that if Kensuke wanted to come they would take him. But, Kensuke didn’t because he said that an emperor never leaves his kingdom until he is dead. I think, that, the title of the book is called Kensuke’s Kingdom because of this line. I realized this when I was discussing this book with my mum.
What I like about the book is:
·   That when Michael first arrived on the island, Kensuke was not a real friend but at the end, he starts getting warmer towards Michael! I like that this book is about friendship.
·   The way Michael Morpugo gives you hints of the story so that you can anticipate what is coming next
·   I think the lesson in this book is: you can always learn from each other like Michael and Kensuke helped each other
·   It made me feel like it would be a nice idea to be on an island, because, I would see the power of nature and learn to respect it. And have adventures that I never knew I could have!
·   This book is special because it relates to a historical event. Kensuke’s kingdom taught me about the Japanese and American event in World War 2 with the atomic bombs…. I wish that he would tell us a little bit more about the war and include it like a post script perhaps.
What I wish Michael Morpugo had done is introduced us to what the parents were doing and feeling when Michael was missing. Also, I wonder if this is a real story that happened to Michael Morpugo! Because, the name of the author and the main character are the same. Could it be an autobiography?!