Billy was a champion soccer star, playing for Chelsea in the 1930s. But that was before war broke out...Billy the Kid is told through the voice of an 80 year old man, who looks back on his life as Chelsea's champion striker until the outbreak of war in 1939 and on through his subsequent life. Billy joins Chelsea as a football apprentice, rises through the reserves to become a real champion. His passion for football sees him through the war years - even as a prisoner of war he organises a friendly against the Italians - but, having been injured by a mine he cannot play for Chelsea on his return to England. Billy turns to vagrancy and alcohol and for years he wanders up and down the country. He re-settles in London in a derelict house and is befriended by a family who move him to a shed in their garden. He, in turn, helps their son with his football who in his turn becomes a Chelsea player. Billy becomes a Chelsea Pensioner and his 80th birthday is celebrated when Chelsea play at home. A novel for both children and adults which deals with some difficult issues.
Michael Morpurgo's storytelling is superb and this will be a welcome follow up to the previous Morpurgo/Foreman collaboration - Farm Boy.
Buy Billy the Kid book by Michael Morpurgo from Australia's Online Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(197mm x 130mm x 10mm)
HarperCollins Children's Books
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Billy the Kid's life story is as powerful and hard-hitting as his strikeres kick was for pre-war Chelsea. Billy's now eighty but is still as inspired by football as when he was a skinny lad with a natural born talent. At 19 Billy achieved his dream to play for Chelsea, quickly becoming a terrace favourite, the Michael Owen of 1939 but dreams were sadly the first casualty as Billy followed the world into war. Morpurgo avoids one-dimensional goalmouth heroics to recount an extraordinary life of highs and tragic lows bound together by a devotion to football while Forman's stirring colour illustrations adeptly capture the physical and emotional drama Billy faces on the football pitch and battlefield. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Michael Morpurgo
Michael Morpurgo OBE is one of Britain's best-loved writers for children. He has written over 100 books and won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Blue Peter Book Award and the Whitbread Award. His recent bestselling novels include 'Shadow', 'A Medal for Leroy' and 'Little Manfred'. His novel 'War Horse' has been successfully adapted as a West End and Broadway theatre play and a major film by Steven Spielberg. A former Children's Laureate, Michael is also the co-founder, with his wife Clare, of the charity Farms for City Children.