DISCLAIMER! I am Welsh, and therefore I may have been absolutely inclined to love this book before I read it, but I am sure I would have loved it anyway.
I was completely swept away by this heartfelt book about evacuees from debut writer Lesley Parr, not because it’s set in Wales, but because Lesley has created characters that I think everyone will fall in love with. It’s 1939, and Jimmy (12) and Ronnie (6) are sent from their family in Islington to the South Welsh town of Llanbryn. They react in very different ways. Jimmy is stubbornly reluctant, Ronnie sweetly swept up by it all. Throughout the book, Jimmy has to face the fact that he isn’t going home in a matter of weeks, and through his adventure with his brother and the Florence Campbell (who is a very special character) he reaches a different understanding of himself and what is important. His attachment to Ronnie is so endearing it took me to tears a couple of times, something which I think is quite rare in children’s books.
I was also quite struck by how well Lesley conveys the gorgeous and yet coal-scarred Welsh landscape, the community surrounding the mines, and the family that Jimmy and Ronnie end up in. It was clear to me that Lesley loves Wales, and she will make others love it too! Hurrah!
Jimmy and Ronnie’s tale is an absolute joy and I predict will also become a firm KS2 favourite for WW2 text (my year 6 daughter is studying WW2 now and snapped the book off me as soon as she could wrench it out of my hands).