The Kingdom By The Sea
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The Kingdom By The Sea

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  181 ratings  ·  20 reviews
During World War II twelve-year-old Harry and a stray dog travel through war-torn England in search of safety.
Published (first published 1990)
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Sep 02, 2010 Elizabeth added it
Shelves: world-war-ii
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Hard to imagine a more inapposite cover. Well, for the ending. (view spoiler) It seems like a good book but a hard book to read. (In terms of the content, not the reading level.) There is also at least one scene with a sexual pre...more
At times, the quality of writing was wonderful and I enjoyed the story a lot.

Then there were a couple of parts that crossed quite far into uncomfortable and combined with the jarring, perplexing ending, took this from great to "it's ok" for me.

It is not a book I would give anyone else's child. Different children can handle different things and I strongly recommend parents of impressionable children read this slender volume first.

Specific areas of concern with spoiler (view spoiler)...more
Heather Browning
A gorgeous book, genuinely moving and sweet. The characters, both good and bad, are subtle and realistic. Though the book is aimed at young adults, Westall doesn't patronise or shy away from more adult ideas, and for this reason, I found it still spoke to me, despite being many years outside the target audience. He doesn't try to lead the reader with absolutes, but plays the events and themes with ambiguities, particularly the ending - the supposed 'happy' ending unable to be just that after eve...more
The first novel I ever read. Intensely emotional for a young teenager. I could relate intimately to the pivotal character - with his youthful perspective on the world and people around him. His situation of loneliness in a war ravaged Britain, poses a challenge for the character and reader combined - such is Westall's ability to make you feel like you are with the protagonist at every page. When on a worrisome walkabout once, I almost slept under an upturned boat just like the character (I found...more
I hated this book, and there aren't many books that I hate.
This book, right from the start, has been an absolute horror. I found it really hard to get into this book, and when I did, I wasn't worth it.
To the people who like this book, I'm sorry for being so ruthless, but by the quality of this book, there aren't that many.

It's hard to describe why I don't like this book, but there is one that stands out like a sore thumb: the ending. The ending, I felt, was rushed and untidy. It felt as if th...more
This is a coming of age story about a boy and his dog, set in the north of England during WWII. Harry's adventure along the coast is fraught with challenge after challenge, and it seems that everyone he meets is two shades shy of normal. This is a bleak and flawed landscape, filled with people we fear, people we pity, people we would likely avoid. Harry pushes on with a wisdom well beyond his years, even as his country fights for its own existence. It is how he chooses to combat all these challe...more
Excellent story of a young boy's survival after his family's home is bombed. Written as a children's story, it has some very dark and seriously unpleasant scenes, especially the ending. Some people may find this book to be inappropriate for children but today's middle- school-aged children have heard it all and should be able to handle it.

I'm hoping to find more books by this author (especially some of his many "cat" books).

This was the audio version of the book and the narrator, Ron Keith, was...more
Jul 01, 2013 Ankit rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: - because i didn't enjoy it
Recommended to Ankit by: Teacher, class book
I didn't really like this story. It had a predictable story line 'Boy loses his parent and ends up finding refuge'. Harry is a 12 year old boy who 'loses' his parent and ends up finding a dog who accompanies him in his journey. Harry finds people who help him through his journey. At the end of the novel Harry finds his parents and they get angry at him for leaving the town that got bombed. I really didn't enjoy the ending, the overall book was ok, but the ending ruined it for me.
The Kingdom by the Sea was a wonderful book combining my three favorite styles of survival story. Wilderness Survival: your basic garden variety rough it style, urban survival: saving, buying, and, packing to make ends meet, and mid ground survival with no place to go using both styles to live.
This book is great - I mean it's fun to imagine living by the sea, and it's written well, and interestingly. But what is with the ending? It defeats the point of the whole book, and decreased the value of a previously great book for me. But other than that, I really liked it.

This wonderful book has me out looking for the rest of this author's books. A wonderful adventure of a boy and his dog during WWII. Terrific growth in the character and a realistic ending. I wish there was a sequel, though the ending is very satisfying.
Varsha Seshan
Sophie McKenzie is absolutely right when she says that Westall chose a third ending altogether! I enjoyed the book tremendously. The range of characters is incredible; the relationships drawn are beautiful.
I can't say much about the ending. I pity the main character though. I wished there was a better ending but this is a bit of a realistic book. We can't always have a happy ending.
Read this a few years ago for school so I can't remember much about it, although from what I do remember it was a good book and I did enjoy it, and I most probably will re-read it.
I always loved this book, and imagined I would kind of like an adventure like this -- if I knew my parents and sister were safe at home.
Might have found this a bit difficult when younger, but many of today's young teens could cope.
Very evocative of the period
like "Once" by Morris Gleitzman so I will recommend to the year 7's and 8's
My favorite childhood book! A beautiful story.
polarbear marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2014
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Aug 17, 2014
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Jul 16, 2014
Emily Lowe
Emily Lowe marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2014
Megan Webster
Megan Webster marked it as to-read
Jun 09, 2014
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Robert Westall was born in North Shields, Northumberland, England in 1929.

His first published book The Machine Gunners (1975) which won him the Carnegie Medal is set in World War Two when a group of children living on Tyneside retrieve a machine-gun from a crashed German aircraft. He won the Carnegie Medal again in 1981 for The Scarecrows, the first writer to win it twice. He won the Smarties Priz...more
More about Robert Westall...
The Machine-Gunners Blitzcat The Cats of Seroster Scarecrows (Puffin Teenage Fiction) Futuretrack 5

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