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Book Review of 'When the Sky Falls' by Phil Earle

I am a homemaker, mother and a wife. I have a passion for books. I always like to know about different books and love to read them.

About the Author and the Book

Phil Earle is an award-winning author who has written many novels for children and young adults. His book ‘When the sky falls’ was published in Great Britain by the publisher Andersen Press Ltd. In the year 2021.

The inspiration to write this book came from a friend of the author, whose father was part of Manchester’s Home Guard during World War II. He was given a very different kind of job. At the sound of an air-raid siren, he had to pick up his rifle and run to Manchester Zoo and position himself as ready to shoot the lion, to stop him from creating havoc in case bombing sets him free from his cage.

Keeping the above in his mind, the author Phil Earle wrote his 20th book ‘When the Sky falls’ for children of the age 9+ years.



The story of this book is about a twelve-year-old boy called Joseph. As the time is of World War II, his father has joined the army and gone to the war. His mum left him long ago. The pain of not being with his parents has turned Joseph into a very angry boy. He gets irritated quickly and is not able to show his true feeling to others. His grandmother sends him to a city to stay with her friend called Mrs. F but the city is the target of all the bombings. On top of that, Mrs. F is a bit blunt lady and never shows her true emotions. She is a caretaker of a zoo, that has a few animals including one gorilla, named ‘Adonis’.

In the beginning, Joseph never likes Adonis but slowly a bond starts forming between them. He also realises that Mrs. F has some special fondness for Adonis and she sees the ape as the pride of her Zoo. But he gets very surprised when he sees, that whenever she hears the air-raid siren, she runs to the zoo and sits there positioning herself in readiness to shoot Adonis. As the story moves, Joseph starts understanding Mrs. F and also her caring nature. His bond with Adonis also deepens.

Now, where will this bonding with Mrs. F and Adonis take Joseph to? Will he remain happy in their company or fate has written something else for him? Will Adonis forever remain the pride of the zoo or he will get free from the cage by the bombings? To get the answers to all these questions, you will have to read the book.

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My Views

During World War II, most of the children were sent to the countryside but in this book, the boy has been sent to the city. Hence the story of a war-torn city is from the perspective of a child. The boy is also dyslexic but dyslexia was not diagnosed at that time. This makes it a very touching and heart-wrenching story. It is also an example of trust and friendship.

I think children should read such books as the whole story makes you feel that wars do good to nobody. The book takes you into history and shows you how wars demolish everything, not just the physical things but also the relations and feelings. After reading the book, I have all the sympathy for the main characters, both the human and the animal.

On the whole, the book is written beautifully and the vocabulary used is great. The story is intense and affecting. The author has also tried to put a bit of humour. There is nothing particular that I have not liked in this book. I would recommend this book to anybody of age 9+.

© 2022 SD Mistry

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