Kensuke's Kingdom [NOOK Book]


A spellbinding tale of survival and self-discovery from award-winning author Michael Morpurgo, who is poised for breakthrough U.S. success.

When Michael's father loses his job, he buys a boat and convinces Michael and his mother to sail around the world. It's an ideal trip - even Michael's sheepdog can come along. It starts out as the perfect family adventure - until Michael is swept overboard. He's washed up on an island, where he struggles ...
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Kensuke's Kingdom

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A spellbinding tale of survival and self-discovery from award-winning author Michael Morpurgo, who is poised for breakthrough U.S. success.

When Michael's father loses his job, he buys a boat and convinces Michael and his mother to sail around the world. It's an ideal trip - even Michael's sheepdog can come along. It starts out as the perfect family adventure - until Michael is swept overboard. He's washed up on an island, where he struggles to survive. Then he discovers that he's not alone. His fellow-castaway, Kensuke, is wary of him. But when Michael's life is threatened, Kensuke slowly lets the boy into his world. The two develop a close understanding in this remote place, but the question of rescue continues to divide them.

When Michael is swept off his family's yacht, he washes up on a desert island, where he struggles to survive--until he finds he is not lone.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Whitbread winner Morpurgo (Waiting for Anya) tries his hand at high-seas action in this tale of a 12-year-old who washes up on a tiny island in the Pacific in 1988. When the brickworks that employs Mike's parents closes, Mike's father comes up with a novel idea: he invests the family's life savings in a sailboat and hires someone to train the three of them to operate the boat. Before long Mike and his parents, and his faithful dog, Stella, are off on a voyage around the globe. But one night, while alone on deck, Mike falls overboard. After hours in the water and losing consciousness (he dreams someone with strong arms has hauled him to safety), Mike comes to on the shore of an apparently deserted island. Readers hoping for a survival story on the order of Hatchet or Island of the Blue Dolphins instead will find a highly romanticized tale in which a saddened but wise Japanese army doctor, shipwrecked near the end of WWII and unwilling to return home, not only rescues Mike but teaches him to fish, cook and paint ("As I watched [Kensuke painting] I became so engrossed that the failing light of evening always came too soon for me"). The languid descriptions and the clusters of coincidences create the ambience of fantasy; this story reads like a pleasantly extended daydream. Ages 8-12. (Mar.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
During a round-the-world trip on his family's boat, 12-year-old Michael and his dog are swept overboard and later wash up on a remote island. They are not alone: a Japanese doctor has been marooned there since the end of World War II. Despite initial mistrust, the English boy and the Asian man become friends and learn from each other. Michael is brave, but he desperately misses his mum and dad and doubts he will ever see civilization again. Kensuke has had enough of war to know that he never again wants to be among his fellows. Although the story at times strains credulity, it has plenty to satisfy both the heart and the mind. Call it a cerebral survival tale. 2003, Scholastic, Ages 10 up.
—Donna Freedman
Set in 1987, this brief novel opens with eleven-year-old Michael departing England on a round-the-world yacht cruise with his parents and faithful sheepdog, Stella. Their adventure of a lifetime proceeds on course until disaster strikes in the Indian Ocean, when Stella is washed overboard and Michael leaps into the sea to save the animal. Struggling and near death, he is kept afloat by a souvenir soccer ball. Dreaming of angelic arms lifting him, Michael regains consciousness on a beach. Stella also survives, and together they desperately search the island for food and water. When nourishing supplies mysteriously appear, Michael knows that he is not the only human inhabitant of the island. Their benefactor is Kensuke, a Japanese survivor of World War II who has existed on the island for forty years. Originally from Nagasaki, the former soldier believes that his wife and son perished in the nuclear attack. He provides Michael with shelter, and as they overcome their language barrier, they begin a father-son relationship. Hoping for rescue, they pass time gathering food, protecting orangutans, and playing soccer. When a ship locates the castaways, Kensuke, still believing his family is dead, refuses to leave and states that the island is his home. Teens will scoff at the miracles that pop up, enabling Michael, Kensuke, and Stella not just to survive but to thrive on the island. The adult-youth friendship story line might attract lower middle school multicultural interest, but juvenile plotting and only brief flashes of excitement hamper any adventure potential. VOYA Codes: 2Q 2P M (Better editing or work by the author might have warranted a 3Q; For the YA with a special interest in thesubject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2003 (orig. 1999), Scholastic, 176p,
— Rollie Welch
School Library Journal
Gr 4-8-This poignant adventure story begins in England in 1988 and ends halfway around the globe in a place that will change the 11-year-old protagonist forever. After losing his job, Michael's father surprises the family by purchasing a yacht in which they will sail around the world. In the first weeks at sea, Michael, his parents, and his dog, Stella, zigzag from England to Australia and across the Coral Sea, where Michael's reverie comes to a frightening end. In the middle of the night, he and Stella are swept overboard in a fierce storm, and he later awakens on an island beach. The island is a hostile jungle full of howling gibbons, voracious mosquitoes, and brutal heat, all of which challenge his ability to survive. Yet when he finds fresh water and food mysteriously laid out for him each morning, he realizes that he is not alone. He soon comes face-to-face with Kensuke, an old Japanese soldier who cautiously protects Michael in spite of the boy's dogged determination to build a bonfire that will signal potential rescuers, defying Kensuke's wish that the outside world never learn of his existence on the island. For nearly a year, the man and boy help each other, moving from an uneasy d tente to a deep friendship. What might have been just a gritty tale of survival evolves into a gentle parable about trust, compassion, love, and hope. This well-crafted story has all the thrills and intrigues of Gary Paulsen's Hatchet (Macmillan, 1986) and Theodore Taylor's The Cay (Avon, 1976), and it will resonate with the same audience.-William McLoughlin, Brookside School, Worthington, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
More adventure than ordeal, this survival tale will fit the bill for thoughtful readers discomfited by extreme violence or gross details. To Michael, the round-the-world sail he's taking with his parents aboard the 42-foot Peggy Sue is great fun, until the moment he and his dog Stella Artois are washed overboard. Michael comes to on a small island, inhabited by gibbons, a colony of orangutans-and Kensuke, a Japanese naval doctor stranded there more than 40 years before. The plot centers around Michael's emotional ups and down as he battles loneliness and mosquitoes, then grows closer to his rescuer, who supplies him with food and water, but makes him stay on one end of the island, at least until he's stung by a jellyfish, and needs nursing back to health. Kensuke has built a small, beautiful world for himself that he teaches Michael to see, and to paint, in exchange for English lessons and news of the outside. When Michael's steadfast parents arrive, after nearly a year's searching, to carry him and Stella away, Kensuke opts to stay behind-but it's plain that his spirit and simplicity have worked profound changes on his young charge. A prizewinning import: sensitive, perceptive, and well-told. (Fiction. 10-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780545300131
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 4/29/2014
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 263,512
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Michael Morpurgo Former Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo needs no introduction. He is one of the most successful children's authors in the country, loved by children, teachers and parents alike. Michael has written more than forty books for children including the global hit War Horse, which was made into a Hollywood film by Steven Spielberg in 2011. Several of his other stories have been adapted for screen and stage, including My Friend Walter, Why the Whales Came and Kensuke's Kingdom. Michael has won the Whitbread Award, the Smarties Award, the Circle of Gold Award, the Children's Book Award and has been short-listed for the Carnegie Medal four times. He started the charity Farms for City Children in 1976 with his wife, Clare, aimed at relieving the “poverty of experience” many young children feel in inner city and urban areas. Michael is also a patron of over a dozen other charities. Living in Devon, listening to Mozart and working with children have provided Michael with the ideas and incentive to write his stories. He spends half his life mucking out sheds with the children, feeding sheep or milking cows; the other half he spends dreaming up and writing stories for children. "For me, the greater part of writing is daydreaming, dreaming the dream of my story until it hatches out - the writing down of it I always find hard. But I love finishing it, then holding the book in my hand and sharing my dream with my readers." Michael received an OBE in December 2006 for his services to literature.

Michael Morpurgo OBE was born in 1943 in St Albans and was educated at Kings Canterbury, Sandhurst and Kings College London. He taught for ten years in both state and private schools and is married with three children and six grandchildren.

His first book was published in 1975 and he has since published over 100 titles. His books have been translated into over twenty languages. Michael's books have also been adapted for film and the stage, including most recently the National Theatre's enormously successful production of War Horse.

Together with his wife Clare he founded Farms for City Children, an educational charity, in 1976. The organisation now runs three farms welcoming over 3,000 children a year. In 1999 he was awarded an MBE for services to youth, and in 2006 he was awarded an OBE.

His books have won the Whitbread Award (The Wreck Of Zanzibar), the Smarties Book Prize (The Butterfly Lion), the Children's Book Award (Kensuke's Kingdom) and Cercle D'Or Prix Sorciere (King Of The Cloud Forests), the Blue Peter Book Award and the Califonia Young Reader Medal (Private Peaceful), the Independent Booksellers' Book of the Year Award (Alone On A Wide Wide Sea) and several have been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.

Michael was Children's Laureate from 2003-2005.

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Table of Contents

1. Peggy Sue 1
2. Water, water everywhere 18
3. Ship's log 25
4. Gibbons and ghosts 42
5. I, Kensuke 66
6. Abunai! 82
7. All that silence said 96
8. Everyone dead in Nagasaki 115
9. The night of the turtles 129
10. Killer men come 144
Postscript 162
Glossary 164
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 5, 2011

    you should buy it now

    This book is really relevant for young readers.A young boy called michael 12 years had a fantastic life untill the day when it was his birthday when michael and hes dog Stella fell over board off a boat called the peggy sue and ended up on a island but there not alone....
    This book gave me a tear in my eye at the end. I would recommenend this to anyone who likes sad storys. You wont just find out about orang-utans but you will find out about a doctor from japan and a little boy...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Kensukes kingdom review

    This story is based in 1987. There is a 11 year old boy named michael, it starts off by him playing football with his best friend Eddie. Eddie moves away. Mom and Dad have a fight Dad buys a boat called The Peggy Sue. Michael and his family go sailing arouns the world (with there dog stella). However, it doesnt come quite to plan as Micheal and stella get washed over board ending up on an island.But they are not alone...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    highly recommended

    I realy enjoyed reading this book and i was pleading to finish it.It starts with a boy who goes sailing around the world .They visit their cousins in Autrallia that's were it happend-Michael and his dog Stella go overboard.Somehow they get washed on an island.They get to sleep in a cave,the next morning Stella was barking mad by some red bananas and fish .They were not alone...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2011

    I highly Recommended this book . It is brilliant.

    This is a book in the first person about a teenageboy called Michael and his dog Stella Artoriois.His Mom and Dad lost their jobs but Dad buys a boat called the Peggy Sue .
    A few events happend on the boat but one stormy night Michael and Stella get tosed over boad and Micheal and stella land on a mystery island ...but they not alone.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2008

    A reviewer

    I have just finished reading this book to my fourth grade class and have gotten the same response as I did from my last two classes. The kids love this book. It is a great book to use to teach many reading skills as well as begin discussions about empathy and history. I will continue to use this book every year. My only complaint is that the beginning is slow but if you can make it to the night Michael falls off the boat, you will be hooked.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2007

    This book is awesome!!!!!!

    If you have not red this book yet, You should!!! it is awesome! I red it as a free time book in reading class, and I would always try to finish my work early to read this book! one time I got in trouble for reading when I was not suposed to 'OOOPS!'. anyway, this book has many clif-hangers, and interesting moments. I loved the ending too it made me think it was non-fiction for a second!! :' oh and by the way I am a very picky 'but random' reader, so it is a great task to inpress me with a book, but this one did!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2006

    Kensuke's Kingdom

    Kensuke¿s kingdom is a great and amazing book filled with adventures. Michael Morpurgo has made this book a masterpiece. This book is about a boy names Michael, Who climbs onboard the ship, The Peggy Sure, with his family and his dog Stella. The brave and young boy, with his family, go onboard searching for a job ever since his disappointed father lost his job due to the war with Japan. During a horrible and mysterious turn of events, he is thrown overboard into the roaring sea. When Michael recovers consciousness, he finds he in stuck on a deserted island. After 3 hopeless days of scavenging for any kind of food and edible water, he finds out, that he is not alone on this island. This mystery and adventure book is a very thrilling and exhilarating book for many readers to read. It was for me, and I am sure that you will love it just as I do.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2006


    I read this book out loud to my 11 & 15 yr old. We all really enjoyed the story, it's exciting and adventurous. It's a short, quick read and worth it!! The ending is a little amazing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2005

    Kensuke's kingdom

    This book was full of excitment and kept me on my toes the whole time. I think this book was the fastest I have ever read a book in my life. I couldn't put it down.Kensuke's Kingdom was about a little boy and his dog who fell out of a boat a swam to the closest island, there they would meet someone who would become very specail in their lives.To keep them alive someone was secretly leaving food for them every day.Well i don't want to give the rest of this good book away.So to find out what happens you should read this interesting book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2005


    i thought it was a great book. it was a bout a 11 year old boy named Michael and his sheepdog who gets washed up on a deserted island and...see if he can serviveand see if he finds any one!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2004

    Fantastic Adventure

    An 11 year old boy becomes shipwrecked on an island where he meets up with an older man who has been living there since WWII. This book gave me some historical facts about the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. I became so interested that I researched this wartime information with my grandmother. Read this book because it is EXCITING and find out if they get rescued.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2003

    An Ok book

    This book wasnt at all as I expected, but it was the action that kept it going and it kept me going just as well. Not one of her best books, but the action and the boy's will to survive(With his dog)kept it a fair book to read, even if the book was short and somewhat fast to read. Read it and see for yourself.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 12, 2003

    Inspiring and Touching

    Kensuke's Kingdom was a wonderful book about an 11 year old boy named Michael. Michael and his parents live on a yacht and are sailing around the world. Unfortunately, Michael falls overboard one night while his parents are sleeping. Michael finds himself on a little island shaped like a peanut. The only other human being was a Japanese man named Kensuke. Kensuke crashed there during World War II. Read this book and find out if Michael and Kensuke ever become friends and see how they survive on the island.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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