The Skylarks' War

The Skylarks' War

4.23 (2,472 ratings by Goodreads)
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4.23 (2,472 ratings by Goodreads)

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Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2018.

The Skylarks' War is a beautiful story following the loves and losses of a family growing up against the harsh backdrop of World War One, from the award-winning Hilary McKay.

Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September - boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer.

When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them. Can their family survive this fearful war?
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 142 x 223 x 33mm | 450g
  • Macmillan Children's Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main Market Ed.
  • None
  • 9781509894949
  • 220,146

Table of contents

Chapter - 1: Clarry and Peter, 1908-1911
Chapter - 2: Lessons and Stars, 1912
Chapter - 3: Journey to Summer, Summer 1912
Chapter - 4: Rupert
Chapter - 5: Shilling Ticket
Chapter - 6: Swimming Lessons, 1912-1913
Chapter - 7: Growing Up
Chapter - 8: Simon the Bony One
Chapter - 9: The Miss Pinkses' Academy
Chapter - 10: Girls Can Do Anything
Chapter - 11: Grammar School Girl, August 1914
Chapter - 12: Rupert in Uniform, Winter 1914
Chapter - 13: Over By Christmas
Chapter - 14: Tripe Sausages
Chapter - 15: Letters Home, Easter 1915
Chapter - 16: Simon Comes to Stay
Chapter - 17: The Photograph
Chapter - 18: Horse Transport, Summer 1915
Chapter - 19: Lucy
Chapter - 20: Sausage Rolls, Winter 1915
Chapter - 21: Saved by Books, Summer 1916
Chapter - 22: Death of a Friend
Chapter - 23: How-Do-You-Spell-It?
Chapter - 24: More of Less Content
Chapter - 25: Clarry the Dark Horse
Chapter - 26: The Key to the Cricket Pavilion, Summer 1917
Chapter - 27: In Flanders
Chapter - 28: Violet and the Pink Beret
Chapter - 29: Peter's Speech Day
Chapter - 30: Simon Enlists
Chapter - 31: Peter's Plans and Clarry's Dreams
Chapter - 32: Clarry Visits Oxford
Chapter - 33: Clarry's Butterflies
Chapter - 34: A Dog Called Rupert
Chapter - 35: Grandfather and Grandmother
Chapter - 36: Behind the Front Line
Chapter - 37: Wild Run
Chapter - 38: The Telegram
Chapter - 39: Odysseus
Chapter - 40: Rupert is Missing
Chapter - 41: The Great Search
Chapter - 42: Mr Rose
Chapter - 43: A Friend with a Boat
Chapter - 44: Facing the Music, Spring 1918
Chapter - 45: Miss Vane and Mr King, Summer 1918
Chapter - 46: Rupert Goes Back, Autumn 1918
Chapter - 47: The Death of a Giraffe, November 1918
Chapter - 48: Armistice Day
Chapter - 49: Afterwards
Chapter - 50: Love to Everyone

Unit - i: Author's Note: The World Behind the Story
Unit - ii: Glossary
Unit - iii: Bibliography
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Review Text

Hilary McKay's novel is about love as much as war: the effect on children of being deprived of it and the beneficial results on adults of its persistence. McKay is incapable of writing an uninteresting character or a dull scene... I loved it. Mary Hoffman Mary Hoffman
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Review quote

McKay is at her best in this poignant family drama. * The Guardian * Picking up a book by Hilary McKay is like slipping on bed socks on a chilly night. She knows how to look after her readers by ensuring that her characters are interesting and loveable from the start . . . McKay's cleverness is that she makes it all fresh and new while making these beautifully drawn characters feel like old friends. * The Times, Children's Book of the Week * This belongs among the classic of children's literature . . . Funny, sad, warm, it is about growing up and finding what you love, intellectually and emotionally. * The Sunday Times, Children's Book of the Week * This book is agony and ecstasy, and never have I read such a human and accessible account of World War I. Vivid, hilarious, and heartbreaking, Hilary McKay's radiant characters touch my heart like real people, friends and loved ones I know well. Possibly the finest writer of our time. -- Elizabeth Wein, New York Times-bestselling author of Code Name Verity and The Pearl Thief This is McKay at her finest, all the heart and warmth of the Casson family books - with a touch of the Cazalets. It's both a thrilling family adventure and a truthful, heart-breaking examination of the impact of war... [an] exceptional historical novel. -- Fiona Noble * Bookseller, Children's Book of the Month * Hilary McKay is surely the heir to Mary Wesley. The Skylarks' War is just lovely. -- Charlotte Eyre, The Bookseller The Skylarks' War is bloody brilliant, the kind of classic that rings with beauty and conviction and heart-stopping emotion. Not read a novel this good since Eva Ibbotson died. -- Amanda Craig Hilary McKay is one of the great writers of children's fiction and this story of love and loss during the First World War is one of her best, told with unflinching wisdom. -- Sarah Hughes * Independent, Best Children's Books for Autumn 2018 * Hilary McKay is a genius. This beautiful book is so many things simultaneously: complex and subtle, beautiful and raw, timely and timeless. I never wanted it to end. -- Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, Carnegie-shortlisted author of The Smell of Other People's Houses One of my favourite books of the year, this is McKay at her absolute finest. -- Fiona Noble * Bookseller Children's Buyer Guide, Highlights of the Season * I laughed, I cried and I wanted all the characters to be my best friend * Natasha Farrant * Winning as ever, with an overall Secret Garden feel * Kirkus Reviews * What a brilliant book. I laughed, I blubbed. The painful jolt of the Great War to one family carefully told. * Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust * I thoroughly loved The Skylarks' War. The story is at once intimate and sweeping, with Clarry the shining heart of it all. -- Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, author of The War That Saved My Life Hilary McKay's novel is about love as much as war: the effect on children of being deprived of it and the beneficial results on adults of its persistence. McKay is incapable of writing an uninteresting character or a dull scene... I loved it. * Mary Hoffman * McKay couples warmth and grace with wry humour like nobody else out there -- Katherine Rundell * The Guardian * ...a family book, like those of Noel Streatfeild or R F Delderfield... I find it hard to imagine anyone not enjoying it. You will smile, and you will cry... You will recognise yourself and your friends -- Adele Geras wise and kind and utterly heart-wrenching and full of characters you will give your whole heart to -- Anna James McKay is a superb writer, deftly spinning history into a family drama of emotional neglect, shameful secrets, unrequited love, loss and ultimate triumph over all of these in a funny, moving and emotionally insightful book that could, and should, be read by all ages. -- Sally Morris * Daily Mail * Quite simply, The Skylarks' War is close to perfect. Wise, kind, witty and incredibly moving it will break your heart and remake it again a few times over. * Scoop magazine * The Skylarks' War by Hilary McKay rivals Testament of Youth for delicacy and heart-wringing clarity in its portrayal of the home front during the First World War. * Independent * a funny, moving and emotionally insightful book that could, and should, be read by all ages * Daily Mail * A moving family story. * The Week Junior * The best children's book I've read this year * Katherine Rundell * Hilary McKay has a rare gift for novels about families and their interplay. Here, she weaves her story round one of the most powerful backdrops in history. And she does so with the lightest of touch which makes her history come alive. * - November Book of the Month *
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About Hilary McKay

Hilary McKay is an award-winning author, having won the Guardian Fiction Prize for her first novel, The Exiles, and going on to win the Smarties and the Whitbread (now the Costa) Award for The Exiles in Love and Saffy's Angel. Hilary McKay's Fairy Tales was her first book with Macmillan Children's Books and is a critically acclaimed collection of clever retellings. Her 2018 title The Skylarks' War marks the centenary of the end of the First World War and is a classic in the making.
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Rating details

2,472 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
5 46% (1,135)
4 37% (906)
3 13% (328)
2 3% (81)
1 1% (22)
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