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Good Night, Mr. Tom
Good Night Mr Tom
Author: Michelle Magorian
London is poised on the brink of World War 11. 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...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780064401746
ISBN-10: 006440174X
Publication Date: 11/13/1986
Pages: 336
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 4.7/5 Stars.

4.7 stars, based on 28 ratings
Publisher: HarperTrophy
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

SouthernChelz avatar reviewed Good Night, Mr. Tom on + 216 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This book is very intense but a good read. It is about evacuees from the London area because WWII was beginning. This particular town is painted different than most during this era. The people are nice and giving. If anyone does misuse the children they are put out for it! The major characters meet each other and both are not too sure of the other. It tells the story of a lost soul bringing healing to another lost soul. There are some intense and disgusting scenes but when you come out on the other side it is worth it! I don't recommend this book for anyone under the age of 12 or 13.
Cantnever avatar reviewed Good Night, Mr. Tom on + 161 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This book is a fantastic read. The characters are so real that your heart goes out to Willie as he is placed in a bachelors home for awhile because of the bombing in London, England. Mr. Tom is a treasure and we're glad that that Willie and Mr. Tom's lives intersect. It changes both their lives forever. I treasure this book; we read it together as a family.
chickencombo13 avatar reviewed Good Night, Mr. Tom on
Helpful Score: 3
This is such a fantastic book. I read this book in middle school. Others have said this book is "intense" and that is the only good word for it. Willie has a very abusive mother, and there are some scenes that can be only described as intense. This book is so wonderfully written that my heart breaks again when I even think of picking it up for another read. Mr. Tom is a gruff old man who wants to be left alone, but he opens up and becomes the best kind of caretaker for Willie. I can't recommend this book enough, but it might not be the best book for anyone under 13 or so, because it has really intense and heart wrenching scenes, but it is so worth the read at the end.
schnauzer-mom avatar reviewed Good Night, Mr. Tom on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I actually saw the movie several years before I read the book. This is one of those classics, a book one acquires extra copies of to share as meaningful gifts. Within the first few pages the author had a firm grip on my heartstrings and kept tugging throughout the story until my heart absolutely broke.

In pre-WW2 England, hundreds of children were evacuated from London and re-distributed throughout the English countryside in an effort to keep them safe from German bombing. Willie Beech, an abused 9-year-old boy, finds himself in the charge of Tom Oakley in Little Weirwold. Tom, a gruff old widower, has been grieving the death of his young wife and infant son for 40 years. He is doing his national duty,' though, by accepting Willie into his house, which is near a church. The proximity of the church is a particular stipulation of his mother, who is a religious fanatic as well as being mentally unstable. When Willie arrives in Little Weirwold he is weak and timorous, sporting bodily evidence of ferocious beatings with the brown leather strap which is included in his knapsack. His mother regularly beats Willie because he is an inherently "bad boy." The strap, viewed with repugnance by Tom, is, to Willie's amazement, swiftly disposed of and never seen again. Tom cares for Willie as he recovers his health, teaching the boy what it means to be a happy healthy child. This experience serves the double purpose of healing Mr. Tom's emotional wounds as well. The two form a bond that runs very deep.

Six months later, Willie's mom sends for him to return to London and the separation from not only Tom but the entire village of Little Weirwold is heart-rending. Time passes and Tom receives no response to letters he has sent Willie in London to keep in touch. Instinctively, Tom knows that all is not well, and indeed something is dreadfully wrong. With his amazing dog Sammy, Tom makes the long journey to London arriving in the midst of much confusion and bombing by German planes. Tom and Sammy do find Willie, and in the nick of time it would seem.

His mother has disappeared, having completely lost her mind, leaving Willie chained inside a tiny closet in the squalid apartment. He has been there for days with no food or water, clutching the body of his baby sister who died of starvation while Willie held her. Willie is covered with bruises and sores, emotionally shocked beyond reason. Tom gently brings him out of the closet and stays by his side as medical help arrives. As Tom is not a relative and therefore without rights as far as Willie's care is concerned, he must resort to kidnapping to rescue the boy from admittance to an institutional Children's Home. Tom whisks Willie home to Little Weirwold and slowly, so slowly, brings him back from the horror-filled depths to which he has sunk.

Although a classic children's story, Good Night, Mr. Tom has much to offer readers of any age: lessons in life, love, loss, death and above all the horrors of child abuse. It is a worthwhile glimpse into pre-WW2 England, country and city, and what the miracle of love can achieve.
EllyMae58 avatar reviewed Good Night, Mr. Tom on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Wonderful story. I loved it.
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