Shoes for Anthony by Emma Kennedy

This isn’t my usual kind of book. But I absolutely loved it. I liked the sound of it from the blurb but, actually, the blurb really doesn’t do it justice.

Shoes for Anthony is the story of an 11 year old boy living in poverty in a small town in Wales during World War II. The family is so poor he doesn’t have shoes, just a pair of hand-me-down wellies. The youngest of four children, his father and his brothers are miners. It is a world where men are men, women are women and little boys are largely ignored.

The story is based on the author’s father’s childhood. The first half of the book is lovely. It follows Anthony as he has adventures with his friends and gets into fights at school. There is so much warmth and humour in every page. I particularly love the relationship Anthony has with his sister, Bethan, the only family member who seems to have much time for him.

The war brings excitement to the little mining town in the form of American soldiers, who bring sweets for the children, give the women something to talk about and the men something to resent. But about halfway through the book, the mood changes. A foreign plane crashes into the Welsh hillside and the war suddenly starts to get very serious indeed for Anthony, his friends and family.

Shoes for Anthony reminded me of a children’s book in many ways – the sort of book I read as a child, rather than the sort my kids read now. It is kind of a cross between Just William and The Machine Gunners (which very old readers like myself might remember watching on TV in the 80s).

It is a brilliantly entertaining read and I would definitely recommend it. I’m even going to try to persuade my sons to read it (although that might be easier said than done as they don’t read much these days).

Shoes for Anthony, Book review, Emma Kennedy, Shoes for Anthony by Emma Kennedy

Author: Sarah Mummy

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17 Comments

  1. Oh this sounds like a nice book. It’s sometimes nice to read something that’s a little bit more like a children’s book – I love the Harry Potter books, they’re just easy reading. Definitely one I’ll check out.
    Nat.x

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    • I haven’t read anything like it before, but I absolutely loved it!
      And I love Harry Potter too 🙂 x

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  2. Reminds me of a tiny bit of Goodnight Mr Tom with the adventures. Has this been made into a TV adaptation? Just wondering from the cover, I’d totally watch it 🙂

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    • That’s another kids’ book I would compare it to! It would make a great TV series, although it isn’t one yet.

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  3. Ooo not heard of this one, sounds like one that might get the kids into history. Thanks for sharing with #ReadWithMe

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    • It’s really good! Definitely well worth a read!

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  4. Great review. I really like the sound of this book, I want to know what happened after the plane crashed now!

    #readwithme

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    • Thanks very much! I didn’t want to give too much away, but it doesn’t disappoint!

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    • It’s not my usual style of book either, but I like a bit of variety and it is most definitely worth a read!

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  5. Not my usual read but I am intrigued. And I have a soft spot for books set in Wales. Adding to my TBR list
    #readwithme

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    • It’s definitely worth a read! It’s not my usual sort of book either, but I’m really glad I chose it.

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  6. You brought back a memory of Mum telling me about wellies instead of shoes through poverty. She was a great story-teller. I do like things where the mood changes – always think Dangerous Liaisons is very like that. Sounds like this is well worth a read and educational too

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    • That’s really interesting that your mum had told you that. This really is a great read and I’d definitely recommend it!

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  7. Oh that sounds like something I would love, I am currently reading Anne Frank’s diary 🙂

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  8. I like the sound of this book. Not my usual genre now but I did love those kinds of books when I was younger.

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  9. This sounds like my sort of book, I’m going to have to get myself a copy to find out what happens! #readwithme

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