Day 18 – The First Novel You Remember Reading
I’ve always been an avid reader since I was really young. I had books full of short stories, and picture books full of animals, and I loved The Gruffalo and Where the Wild Things Are. I’ve always been surrounded by books and that made me me. Trying to remember the first novel that I read is a little harder but I think I figured it out.
The first novel I ever read (and finished) was The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo
This book broke my heart and pieced it back together. I remember it so vividly.
It’s a story about a very adventurous cat during World War II. The small village of Slapton is full of city evacuees, but all in it has been scarcely touched by war. That is until the 3000 inhabitants of the village are told up sticks and move out of their homes. The village and beach are soon out of bounds while the Allied forces practice for their D-Day landing and preparing to invade France. But during the move from her home, Lily’s cat goes missing. Lily’s cat Tips has other ideas and no amount of barricades, barbed wire, bombs and guns are going to keep Tips out of the Danger Zone. Lily makes friends with two American soldiers in an attempt to try and find Tips. But worried that she will never see her cat again, Lily braves the Danger Zone to try and find her adventurous cat. 60 years on and reading his Grandma Lily’s diary, Michael learns about The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips and marvelling at how the tale of one cat could affect them so many years later.
The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips is such a warm and comforting story, providing a view of war through the eyes of a twelve-year-old. As the reader, we get to live through Lily’s diary entries getting insight into what it was like to live as a child in a war-torn Britain. It is a nice easy read, I can get through it cover to cover in just a few hours.
I always loved the works of Michael Morpurgo. They were always so heartbreaking in a way that children’s books often aren’t. But I feel like it’s important for children to learn these emotions, like hurt and loss and love and peace, in a way that isn’t detrimental to their wellbeing. Michael Morpurgo managed that so well. I have kept all of my Michael Morpurgo books (especially The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips) for my daughter, Freya when she is old enough. I hope they mean as much to her as they did to me.