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A Bit of a Hero ISBN: 9781842709092
Phinn, Gervase
Published by Andersen Press Ltd, 2009
Tom's father, a firefighter, was killed in a fire, trying to save a little girl. When our story begins, it has been almost a year since his father's death, but Tom is still finding it difficult to cope. We learn a lot about how close Tom and his dad were and all the things they did together. His mum, after a dreadful first few months, has begun to put her life together again, no thanks to her sister, Tom's Auntie Rita, who thinks she is helping but is a stock insensitive, horrid character. But the death of his much-loved father is not Tom's only problem. A new boy at school, Martin Roadhouse, is a big bully, a really dreadful one, and he is making life difficult for Tom and most of his school mates too. Even the teachers find him rude and impossible to handle. The children are afraid of him and, therefore, are frightened to tell on him. When Martin starts on at Tom about his dad, that he was 'stupid' to go back into a house that was burning, Tom begins to have his own doubts, particularly as awful Auntie Rita has said much the same thing. Tom finds it hard to accept that mum has begun to make new men friends, and doesn't in the beginning like Roy, a black American soldier who visits occasionally. But it is Roy who has the sensitivity to help Tom cope with bully Martin, and they become firm friends. When Roy is killed in Iraq, Tom must come to terms with a second death, but the strength he has been given by Roy, by his mum and by his rememberance of his dad gets him through. A very readable book with honest portrayals of feelings.
Age: 9+