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Good Night, Mr. Tom

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  40,900 ratings  ·  1,974 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 HarperCollins (first published 1981)
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Tiffany jasmine..... please mark that your comment contains spoilers..... You just ruined the end of the book for me.
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Average rating 4.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  40,900 ratings  ·  1,974 reviews

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Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Willie Beech an 8 year old boy severely deprived and abused by his psychotic religious crank mother, is evacuated from his home in London on the eve of the Second World War to the English countryside town of Little Weirwold where he is billeted with the semi-reclusive elderly villager Tom Oakley. He finds in Tom a loving father figure and with Tom's border collie Sammy and the friends Willie makes in the village the irrepressible and chatty actor's son Zach , the farm boy George and two twin gir ...more
Jul 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"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 allow
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing

With World War II looming over their heads, the city of London makes a decision to evacuate the children to the countryside. Willie Beech is one of the many children brought to Little Weirwold, where he is left at the home of Mr. Thomas Oakley, Mr. Tom. At the start, he feels a little put out, but accepts it as his duty. As does his dog Sammy, who seems happy to have a young person around, and bonds quickly with Willie.

As Mr. Tom begins to observe Willie, whom Mr. Tom calls William, he begins to
May 29, 2008 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 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
When I read a book like this one, I try to imagine what my eight or ten year-old self would have thought of it. I’m pretty sure she would have loved this and read it more than once. It is beautifully written, very sweet and uplifting, and inspires kindness and a view of the world as a place that will rescue you.

William Beech is an evacuee from London during WWII, and Tom Oakley is the reclusive elderly man who has the boy foisted upon him. Will is a child who has been abused and bullied and his
Apr 12, 2014 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.
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
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
Jan 04, 2015 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
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
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought by the title and the cover that this would be a simple little tale, but it was actually very harrowing! Young William is an evacuee from the city streets of London who is deposited in the rural cottage of a crusty old widower. Will has endured some ghastly abuse at the hands of his mother, the description of which is now burned into my brain. Happily the old man and the boy form a bond that benefits both of them. Aside from the personal story, the book raised a lot of questions for me ...more
Jeanette (Again)
Nov 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jeanette (Again) 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
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
Nov 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
such an emotional read wow i'm a mess !!! ...more
Aurélien Thomas
In the tense period just before Britain enters what will be WWII, Will, a young boy from London, is sent as an evacuee to the country where he is going to live with Mr Tom, an uncommunicative and what seem to be (on the surface) a grumpy old man. Their encounter will change them both. It will, above all, radically change Will's life.

Here's a great picture of what it must have been like living during those uncertain time, a picture also of the innocence of childhood ripped apart by a war yet to c
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! ...more
Philomena Callan Cheekypee
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A must read for everyone. If you don't read it then you should watch the movie. This story needs to be told.

My sons had to read this at school. As I love to read i read this while both of them read it. I have watched the movie a few times with them also.
Rearranging my books I came across this and couldn't resist re reading it. Truly an amazing read.
The Dusty Jacket
Thomas Oakley was well into his sixties when the Billeting Officer knocked on his front door. To the people in his village of Little Weirwold, Thomas was an isolated, bad tempered, and frosty man, but to the officer, he was the perfect fit for this particular evacuee. Eight-year-old William Beech had come with specific instructions from his mother: either place him with a religious person or near a church. Thomas Oakley fit the bill perfectly. So Thomas, a man withdrawn by choice and grief, and ...more
Laura Harrison
Sep 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a sad and powerful read. It takes hold of you from the earliest pages and doesn't let go. There is big time child abuse in this book. I was a crying mess for much of it. Not sure I would recommend it to very young or sensitive children. Heck-sensitive people in general. It is top notch writing and the imagery really stays with you. Amazing author. Btw, there is a film version. It does the book justice. Have a box of tissues at the ready. Maybe two. ...more

Listen here:

At Phoenix Theatre, West End this month:

What a horrible mother.

Zack! Noooooooooooo!
Floor Flawless
Old but gold! I totally understand why it won the Guardian Children's Fiction prize and that it is adapted to a musical and film. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I listened to the audiobook, but I hope to find a physical copy someday. ...more
Nov 07, 2011 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.
R.J. Rodda
Dec 29, 2016 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.
c1939-1940, Great Britain

Powerful. Allegedly a book for young readers but it should appeal to everyone. Simply because the main character is a boy, doesn't mean an adult wouldn't enjoy it. In fact, adults should appreciate it even more since we've all experienced a childhood. [Conversely, I don't understand why we expect kids to read book with adult characters (I'm thinking of the hard-core classics).]

The story starts when Great Britain is on the brink of war and children are evacuated to the co
Alex  Baugh
Jan 22, 2013 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
Sara Darr
Oct 01, 2011 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
A. S.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story has the quintessential feel of a children's story. It has a simple plot, is sprinkled with sadness, has fantastic characters, and is wonderfully warm-hearted. 

"Goodnight Mister Tom" is a story about an abused little boy, William Beech, who is sent to the London countryside as an evacuee to be kept safe from the London bombings during WWII. He is taken in by Tom Oakley, an older man who lives alone with his dog Sammy. The story that unfolds from there is perfect. 

The way that Mister To
Jul 12, 2014 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
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
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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

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