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The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  552 ratings  ·  82 reviews

All Becket wants is for his family to be whole again. But standing in his way are two things: 1) his dad, his brother and him seem to have run away from home in the middle of the night and 2) Becket’s mum died before he got the chance to say goodbye to her. Arming himself with an armchair of stories, a snail named Brian and one thousand paper cranes, Becket ploughs on, det

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by Usborne Publishing Ltd
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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Nov 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It was funny in someways and had hints of jokes and humor but also a tragic background with the kid's parents. I loved the contrast. I remember being like Billy. Trying to be bigger than I actually was. 'SNOOP', their spy agency, was really funny. It made me remember of the days where me and my sister would make things up. ...more
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful and heartfelt with a far more emotional journey than I had been expecting. 🐌
Kyra (Blog of a Bookaholic)

I'm not sure what grabbed my attention first when I saw this book, perhaps it was the enchanting title or perhaps the cover that promised me a heartwarming, endearing story or the synopsis that drew me in immediately. Or perhaps it was all three. All I know was that I was beyond excited for this book and my heightened expectations were met and even exceeded. The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair was part heartbreaking, part whimsical and fully and completely breathtaking.

The Boy Who
Serendipity Reviews
Originally published on

Lara Williamson writes quiet stories with a BIG VOICE! Her main characters are so unique they practically explode out of the book. In this book we meet Becket Rumsey, whose voice is heartwarming, poignant at times, yet also extremely funny. His brother, Billy and his pet snail, are brilliantly written characters too. You find yourself wanting to hug them all.
I absolutely adore the way that Lara writes. In fact, her comical voice is so unique
Ben Trevail
Aug 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 52books2017
This was lent to me by a boy in my class to read over the summer and I'm really glad I have. Probably the funniest book I've read in ages with laugh out loud moments on most pages but dealing with big issues of grief, family relationships and even abusive ones, I will definitely be recommending this to my Y4s next year. ...more
Angela Groves
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this! I think i preferred A Boy Called Hope, but this is certainly a close second. It's a beautiful book, written with so much humour and innocence. The sense of loss throughout is profound, but not depressing, it's a wonderful story of new beginnings and deals excellently with issue of loss in childhood. ...more
Sep 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such a sweet novel of love, hope and friendship in troubled times that shows that sometimes things have to get worse before they get better (I now also want a pet snail!)
Karen Barber
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eleven year old Becket is struggling to come to terms with how his life has changed recently. For reasons he doesn’t know, their father has taken Becket and his younger brother away from the family home. His girlfriend Pearl isn’t with them, and they are now living in a rather run-down flat and living off takeaways.
Becket and Billy miss Pearl and decide to try and investigate. Well-meaning though their actions are, they inadvertently end up causing more trouble.
Settling into a new school is toug
Bethany Sawford
The story is told from the point of view of Bennett, who along with his Dad and brother have moved house in the middle of the night, leaving their Dad's girlfriend behind. Bennett and Billy are left confused and bewildered by all the changes (unsurprisingly) so decide to turn detective to find out what is going on. We also follow Bennett as he starts a new school and makes new friends, while dealing with his home life and trying to deal with the fact that his mother died years before. I wasn't e ...more
Charlotte Holmans
I loved this book! The way the author has described how children cope with grief, learning to move on, make friends and watch their world change around them is awesome. I loved the ending with the paper cranes!
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
well I didn't expect this book to be so soul crushing and emotional as it was.... ...more
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love this book
Elizabeth Appenheimer
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The kind of story that will comfort a kid in a similar situation, bring understanding a kid who doesn't understand their friend's difficulties, and give adults an idea of how their choices affect the kids around them. ...more
Malak Mahmoud
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a great book if you are interested in mystery, emotion and action! ...more
I can see this is going to be a really sweet read but not at all what I'm in mood for at the moment. Leaving until I'm in better reading frame of mind. ...more
Rameen Ali
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Becket Rumsey and his little brother Billy and his pet snail Brian start to investigate as soon as their father had taken them away in the middle of the night, without their almost to step mum Pearl who didn’t know anything about it. Without any explanation from their father, Becket, Billy and Brian are left in the dark, so they create “SNOOP” – Secret Network of Observations, Operations, and Probing. A secret spy organization they created to figure out why the moved and to get back Pe
Sep 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Lara Williamson is a first rate children's writer, and this is another great book by her. Beckett and his brother Billy begin this story with a sudden move to a new home with their dad. They leave behind Pearl, Dad's girlfriend. Their natural mother died a few years before, and Beckett feels like he never got to say goodbye, and now they want Pearl back too. Beckett and Billy set to work on making that happen, and the results are hilarious.

Billy has a pet snail called Brian. Brian gets up to mis
Jean Kirby
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Milan Nathani
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
There aren't many people in our world today who can survive such trauma suffered by 11 year old Becket Rumsey in this book. After his mom's death when he was really young, he has been struggling to find his own happy place. When dad found his new partner, Becket was finally having a speedy recovery. But of course, he couldn't hold on to the small amount of happiness he had inside. This book zooms in on the traumatic life of one boy, a boy who hasn't been able to regain his happiness after his di ...more
Mike Watson
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing

5 🌟 doesn’t come easy.
This book had sat on my shelf for quite a long time, and I never really knew when I would get round to reading it. When I did pick it up I didn’t really put it down again... apart from when I went to sleep!
If you have suffered a loss or a trauma or grief in your life, then Becket and little Billy are easily identifiable characters. For me, it was my Grandma, and even though I was older than Becket when it happened, his fear and regret reminded my so closely to my
Luisina Yannicelli
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Becket Rumsey is a smart, creative and sensitive boy who loves his brother Billy and father. He struggles to find a way to say goodbye to his mother, who sadly passed away when his brother was born. Suddenly one night the three of them run away in the middle of the night leaving dad's girlfriend behind. Lara Wilson has found a way to make this story relate for both young teens and adults. A lovely reflection about the importance of not underestimating children's capacities to deal with serious p ...more
Susan Grigsby
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Told from the perspective of Becket, the reader is kept guessing about why his father has mysteriously moved them from what he and his brother Billy considered a happy home. Realistically written in the child's voice with a child's thought processes, the actions of Becket and Billy are believable and (sometimes) hilarious. The brotherly bond was lovely, too.
This book covers a topic that is rarely addressed in children's literature (Spoiler Alert): spousal abuse when the abuser is the female in t
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was not what i was expecting the book to be about when I saw the title and the front cover. however i thought it was really funny, and could really see children relating to the main charachter in the book. I have a 10 year old and could see that she would find it very funny to read.
Having said that the serious message in the book and the ending (which wasnt what i thought the reason would be) was very good. good to see that an adult doesnt expect the twists and turns.
always wanted to read
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How to say Goodbye?
It's never easy for anyone let alone a child.

An insight into how two young boys try to help their Dad mend his relationship with his girlfriend. Unbeknownst to them their Dad had moved them away in a rush to protect them but more importantly to protect himself.
Domestic violence is a real issue for men too, however this is rarely touched upon.

The main focus is how Becket ( the main character) tries to say Goodbye. To a Mum; who died giving birth to his brother; and how he learn
Hannah Firek
May 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sol Vargas
May 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because the title and the cover grabbed my attention, it looked like it would be a cute, fun little story. But it was deeper than that, I definitely didn't expect it to be so heartbreaking.

I didn't know this was (among other things) about a boy grieving the dead of a parent, so, as I can relate to that, this book broke my heart but it also healed it. I wish I've found this book sooner.
Georgina Power
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Okay this book got me, its written from the perspective of 11 year old Becket who along with his dad and 7 year old brother Billy they are learning to come to terms with their mothers passing whilst giving birth to Billy. It's such a beautiful story and it really made me ugly cry, but it's so wonderfully written and so charming and laugh out loud funny in places. I feel like this book has been one that was waiting for me in the last 6 months. 💙 ...more
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Cleverly crafted tale of loss, redemption, and love. The voice of eleven year old Beckett Rumsey is engaging as he and younger brother, Billy, deal with the loss of their mother, and the recent departure of Dad's girlfriend, Pearl. There are many moments of laughter and tears in a quite subtly complex tale. Relevant for Years 7-8. ...more
Jun 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyable read. Beckett, and his younger brother Billy are trying to cope with life without their dead mother. Poignantly told, with lots of humour, and in spite of all sorts of problems with school and dad's girlfriend Pearl, the happy ending does eventually happen. Paper cranes and butterflies are also essential parts of the story.
Kirsten Fraser
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-books
What a great book to show children that, if you look a little deeper, nobody is 'normal' and everybody has a story to tell, even if they don't want to tell it. The special relationship between Beckett and his brother Billy is heart-warming as is the protective way the boys feel about their dad. I am really glad I read this book and will be recommending it to my Year 6 students. ...more
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Lara Williamson is currently attached to her computer keyboard in London. Before this she studied Fashion Design and was attached to a sewing machine in Northern Ireland. Her début MG novel A BOY CALLED HOPE will come out on March 1st 2014. Meanwhile, she is spelling out exciting words in potato alphabet shapes, looking at Uranus, thinking of zombie dogs and counting the days until she can tell ev ...more

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