We now have a book-shaped hole in our lives after finishing The Folk of the Faraway Tree so I took a well-earned break from my working day and trotted three minutes up the road from my office to the Oxfam bookshop.
It’s a treasure trove of kids’ books – both classics and lesser known titles for all age groups are packed tightly on at least five rows of shelving. I could have spent a whole afternoon browsing but I didn’t have a whole afternoon so I made my choice quickly.
I immediately felt excited when I read the blurb on the back of Billy the Kid. A book about an old man reminiscing about his boyhood ambition to play for Chelsea would surely be a hit with my young man who shares the same dream. What makes this book different from your average football story is the 1939 setting and that the protagonist has to give up his football dreams to play in the war. Educational, to boot, I knew I was on to a winner.
Plus, it’s written by acclaimed author Michael Morpurgo, winner of multiple literary awards, former Children’s Laureate and creator of War Horse. After feeling let down by Enid Blyton’s laboured prose I know that this book will display some quality writing.
And 16 pages in, I’ve already felt a bit weepy, so I’m fully expected Toby and I to be utterly transfixed as the story unfolds.