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Good Night, Mr. Tom

4.28  ·  Rating Details ·  29,617 Ratings  ·  1,317 Reviews
London is poised on the brink of World War II. Timid, scrawny Willie Beech -- the abused child of a single mother -- is evacuated to the English countryside. At first, he is terrified of everything, of the country sounds and sights, even of Mr. Tom, the gruff, kindly old man who has taken him in. But gradually Willie forgets the hate and despair of his past. He learns to l ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 13th 1986 by HarperTeen (first published 1981)
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"Takes yer time, everythin' 'as its own time."

So I have this theory that whenever I read a book where there is a gruff old man who is prickly on the outside but a big softie in the middle, I will love it.

This book is one of my all-time favourites and I know I say that about every book, but I definitely mean it this time.
I first read it when I was about ten and I was in Year 5, learning about WW2 and the Blitz and evacuees. Seeing as I had read all the books we had to read and I was allowed to
May 29, 2008 Mimi rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mimi by: Librarian Mrs. Wilson (middle school)
Such a beautiful, beautiful book. It was recommended to me by the librarian at my middle school who hosted a group called the Bookmunchers where nerdy ones, like myself, could eat their lunches in the library every Wednesday.

Even through the horrors facing people in WWII London we are shown the true love that can happen from makeshift families like that made up of Mr. Tom and Willie. It's a book that changed my life as a child. It made me feel safe to know that even when we're at the worst plac
Jun 26, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
This is probably the book I have shed most tears over in my life. I can't even remember how often I read it as a young teenager, but I still feel that shiver going down my spine. Set in the English country-side during World War Two, it tells the story of a boy who is evacuated from London. He has to live with grumpy Mister Tom, and in the beginning, you can physically feel the boy's fear. As time goes by, the odd couple starts bonding, new friendships and interests make life exciting even though ...more
Sep 27, 2011 V rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves, reviewed, fiction
Now here's a book I had to read for school. Primary school, in fact. I think I must have been in Year 5 or 6 (at the age of 10) when my teacher gave us this as the class reading book before we started studying World War II. (Years 5 and 6 at my school shared the same classroom and same materials. Aren't tiny little village schools with only 65 pupils great?) It made all of my class cry our eyes out.

Good Night, Mister Tom is set during World War II, and it's about a grouchy old man (Tom Oakley)
Jan 04, 2015 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tom Oakley has become a loner in his village. He tends to be stern and quietly exists with a heavy heart. A small, nervous boy called Willie Beech enters Tom's life and home as an evacuee from war-torn London. Willie soon stirs up Tom's set ways. Over time, Willie flourishes with Tom's sensitive care and Tom finds new purpose in his life.

A novel full of adventures in the countryside with friends, the spirit of helping each other in times of trouble, cozy nights next to the fire with books and di
We had to read this in primary school, and it's been one of my most-read, well-loved books ever since. It doesn't seem enough to say, "Oh, it's a really touching story," because it's so much more than that. Willie is a young boy who's been abused by his mother all his life, so when he's evacuated to the countryside he's a quivering nervous wreck. He expects to be beaten for everything he gets wrong. The widower he stays with, Tom Oakley, is gruff and blunt and has shunned company ever since his ...more
Apr 12, 2014 Persephone rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I really hated this book. I mean really hated. Willie Beech is a complete Mary Sue, except for the fact he's a 9 year old boy.

He is way too perfect. He is amazing at everything he attempts, despite his situation (writing, maths, acting, socialising, art.) It's just too unbelievable.

His friends are incredibly boring, George and Ginny had no personality, Carrie was simply a token feminist and Zach was the only one who was written semi-decently, but he was just so irritating.
Feb 19, 2014 ☆Dani☆ rated it did not like it
I honestly have to ask- how did this novel get such a high rating? It was easily one of the worst novels I have ever read.

It’s the apparently ‘heartwarming’ story of Willie Beech, who is sent from London to the countryside during the second world war. He goes from living with an overly religious, abusive mother to the gruff but kind Tom, and develops, or something. It doesn’t really matter.

The characters are dire. Zack wins an award for being the most annoying dope I’ve ever seen in a novel. I a
In 1993 my grandmother sent me this book. I still have the letter she sent with it tucked inside the book. She said she saw it sitting on top of stack of books at the thrift store. The picture of the little boy on the cover caught her fancy so she picked it up. "That night I read until my eyes got to tired for more. I liked it and hope you do too. It's about a time long ago during World War 2 in England. A different kind of world than we have now. There are still good people like Mr. Tom. Have a ...more
Alex Baugh
Jan 22, 2013 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
On September 1, 1939, Operation Pied Piper commenced and thousands of children were evacuated from London to the English countryside to keep them safe from the war that was just beginning.

Among the evacuees to Little Weinwold is William Beech, 8, left in the care of Tom Oakley, a widower and a rather crusty loner. William is much to small for his age, frightened of everything and covered in black and blue bruises. Inside he duffel, Tom find a belt with a large buckle and instructions to use it
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Nov 23, 2008 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jeanette by: Rebecca
This story takes place against the backdrop of a charming and quirky English country town full of colorful characters.

Willie Beech is an abused nine-year-old boy. "Mr. Tom" Oakley is a sixty-year-old man who was widowed 40 years ago and became the town recluse/curmudgeon. The two are thrown together when Willie arrives at Mr. Tom's cottage as one of the WWII evacuee children from London. They both blossom as they learn to love and encourage each other. Mr. Tom comes out of his self-imposed "herm
Dec 16, 2010 Amy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The last time I read this book - 2008, I think - I said that I thought the writing was quite flat and unemotive. Re-reading this has changed my mind. It's just told simply, rather than unemotively. It's a children's book set in the Second World War and several bad things happen and, perhaps more importantly for a children's novel, they happen to good people. It would be in bad taste altogether to be too graphic or dramatic. The simple writing style just makes everything seem more true, somehow. ...more
Dale Pearl
Such a wonderful tale of second chances!
Young William is sent to live in the country with an elderly man by the name of Tom. What ensues is a young boy and an aging man finding out how to be loved, how to have happiness, how two strangers can become each others family.

I found the ending to abrupt, the writing not particularly strong, and the antagonist elements are seldom instigators. What makes this story work so well though is relationship. The author manages to make you feel the growing relat
One of my final List of Betterment books and a true classic. I read so many children's books these days and now realise how high the benchmark for real literature can and should be for children.
Deeply touching, uplifting, harrowing and joyous. I loved the relationship between Tom and Willie but also Willie and the community. Each character is real and watching Willie grow into a real person is an emotional journey. I'm happy to admit that I cried several times throughout. Sometimes because I fe
Melissa Coyle
A children's World War II story about a young boy who is an evacuee from London's East End to a country village. This story warmed my heart and made me well up when this lonely, unloved boy learns to love and trust and to become loved. It is a sweet read about healing and definitely my favorite book this January 2015!
Nov 07, 2011 Miz rated it it was amazing
Re-read this as an adult for book club and it was just as delightful as ever. I was surprised how emotional I was and how invested I was in their lives! Great, timeless book.
Rebekah Rodda
Dec 29, 2016 Rebekah Rodda rated it it was amazing
A childhood favourite that I still find incredibly moving. A beautiful story of an evacuated town boy finding hope and love in the country.
Mar 31, 2017 Joanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Da ich für den Blog aktiver an meinen Listen arbeiten möchte, nehme ich mir jeden Monat ein Buch der BBC-Liste vor. Im März war "Goodnight Mister Tom" von Michelle Magorian an der Reihe, ein Titel, von dem ich bisher noch nie gehört hatte. Unterdessen kann ich sagen: wirklich schade, dass dieser Titel hierzulande so unbekannt ist! Denn Willie und Tom sind zurecht auf der Liste der BBC gelandet.

Dieses Buch erzählt uns eine jener Geschichten, die man nicht mehr so einfach los wird. Zu Beginn wird
Jul 12, 2014 Kingfan30 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first came across this story many years ago when it was on the TV and fell in love with it then. I discovered after that it was based on a book, which I hunted out and read. So I was looking for something to read next and this grabbed my eye for a re-read.

It really is a lovely story, which had me welling up at times. You can picture the boys confusion at never having been in the country and wondering what things were. I loved the way that Mister Tom becomes softer as the story goes on (althoug
Mahdi Aljamri
Aug 28, 2016 Mahdi Aljamri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
أدب إنجليزي لذيذ بتفاصيله، وتدور احداث الرواية في أرياف بريطانيا بزمن الحرب العالمية، حيث تقوم الأسر الانجليزية بالمدن بنقل اطفالها بعيداً عن الحرب الى الارياف، ليعيشوا في كنف عوائل الأرياف، وهناك ينفجر خيال الكاتبة بالابداع الذي يجعلك تعيش حياة هؤلاء الأطفال، ومن ضمن الشخصيات الرئيسية بالرواية هما الطفل ويلي والقس توم.

Wonderful book.

Nine year old William Beech is evacuated from war torn London, in the midst of World War 2. He is sent to Little Weirwold to live with the lonely, grumpy, Thomas Oakley.

During Will’s stay with Mister Tom, he learns many important life lessons academically, like to read and write and his talent for art and emotionally, such as learning to love and trust, gaining self -confidence and the importance of friendship. He experiences newfound luxuries, like a bed and full meals.

When we a
Sara Darr
Oct 01, 2011 Sara Darr rated it it was amazing
I remember reading this book whilst I was at primary school and again at secondary school when I developed a keen interest in history.

Magorian tells the story of Will Beech, an evacuee who is placed in the hands of Mr Tom Oakley at the start of WWII. However after spending a few months in the countryside, he is summoned back home to his mother where he is subjected to abuse, until he is rescued by Mr Tom. At first, you sense uncertainty as to what will become of Will and Tom but then as the sto
Tabitha Olson
May 09, 2010 Tabitha Olson rated it it was amazing
Timid, scrawny, Willie Beech is the abused child of a single mother. She sends him to Mr. Tom, who lives in the English countryside, because London is being bombed by the Nazis.

The two main adults in this story, the mother and Mr. Tom, seem very similar in the beginning. Yet, by the end, we see that they are completely different. What really hit home was this: hard times can make hard people, but one's true colors shine through when faced with others in need.

Mr. Tom's gruff exterior is only hi
Nov 10, 2009 Libby rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: People with nothing better to do
Recommended to Libby by: My school
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mehrin Ahmed
Jan 04, 2012 Mehrin Ahmed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Goodnight Mr Tom’ by Michelle Magorian narrates the story of a young boy who is evacuated to the countryside. He comes from an upbringing of neglect, abuse and expects this to continue with Mr Tom Oakley, who he stays with. Mr Oakley is a stern, old widower who’s wife died leaving him to become cold and distant. Despite his efforts not to, Mr Oakley becomes fond of the young boy and they begin to form a unique bond. He senses that that the young boy has been abused and teaches him to read and l ...more
Dec 27, 2015 Ivan rated it really liked it
Old Tom Oakley is a hero - he starts out the story as an old recluse - a man of the country who has isolated himself from the world since the death of his wife and baby boy decades ago. But World War II has come and with it the blitz and tens of thousands of London's children are being evacuated to the country and the luckiest thing in the world happens to Old Tom and little William Beech - God brings them together. I'm not going to spoil the story by giving too much away. However, this is an em ...more
Rina Iosad
Aug 04, 2012 Rina Iosad rated it it was amazing
This is me reading Good Night Mr Tom: "Well, this is all really nice and sweet, maybe even too sweet WHOA WHAT WAS THAT?!". I don't remember which books exactly I read in the tender age of 9-10 years, but they definitely did not include detailed descriptions of abused children and dead babies.

Nevertheless, I absolutely loved this book. Its perfect English village with perfect English people and perfect main character might seem a tad too much, but it's a children's book after all, so I'm fine w
What a wonderful story about a a traumatized, weak boy and a lonely farmer, unlikely candidate for parenting!

The story is about how the boy (William) becomes a healthy stable boy in the care of Mr Tom (farmer). The story is based during the WWI in England and the children being sent to the country. Although it is a children's book, it's also well worth it for older readers too. And it'll be a wonderful reading material in a classroom setting for children over 12 whose L2 is English.

The relation
I loved the style of Magorian's writing and how the story progressed, but not sure if I would have the confidence to use this book with children, as to me it's a pretty severe story of child abuse and neglect. It does cover the topics in a fairly sensitive way but I found it quite harsh reading at times. I think you would need to know your class very well and issues within it before choosing to read this book with them. However, it is still an amazing story and gives a great insight to life in E ...more
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IBSB Year 5E 2016-17: Goodnight Mr Tom 1 5 Sep 28, 2016 05:04AM  
Battle of the Boo...: Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian 1 7 Oct 25, 2014 09:08PM  
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British children's author Michelle Magorian - author of the celebrated Goodnight, Mr. Tom (1981), which won The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize - was born in Southsea, Portsmouth, in 1947. She trained to be an actress, studying at the Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama, and at Marcel Marceau's L'école Internationale de Mime in Paris. While pursuing an acting career, Magorian became interes ...more
More about Michelle Magorian...

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“I’d rather be happy and odd than miserable and ordinary,' she said, sticking her chin in the air.” 50 likes
“It occurred to him that strength was quite different from toughness and that being vulnerable wasn't quite the same as being weak.” 25 likes
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