The Castle in the Field by Michael Morpurgo
A sort of almost follow-up to Snug in that it features the same characters, but this time there’s a pillbox involved!
They know they’re not supposed to go there but one day in the middle of a truly awful downpour, Tom, Lisa and Chris take shelter in the pillbox on Rafferty’s land. Once there they discover an old helmet from the pillbox’s time as a lookout point in World War Two and the shelter soon becomes their home away from home. How long can they keep their secret hideaway hidden though, especially with mean old Rafferty and local bully Jimmy about?
It’s always interesting to find relics from the wartime eras and it’s easy for people like me who live in the city to forget that you can still find physical reminders of it in the countryside, like the pillbox look-out point in this story. I love how it starts out as a just a place to hide from the rain and it becomes what everyone dreams of when they’re younger – a secret hideout. A proper one, with logs for seats and an old oil lamp for heat, like something out of an Enid Blyton story. There has to be a baddie though and Jimmy is an excellent one – the kind of boy only out to spoil other people’s fun, just because he can.
A neat little story about having a secret den, one that conjures up old memories of Enid Blyton-esque secret hideaways and codes, illustrated throughout with the lovely soft drawings of Faye Hanson. Being a Barrington Stoke novel, it of course has the Reading Age/Interest Age that hallmarks their books for dyslexic or struggling readers, in this case the reading age being 6 and the interest age 5-8. A simple little story that’s well worth another look, even if you’re not a dyslexic reader too.
Find The Castle in the Field here