Suitable for 7 - 11 years

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Rated 5/5 from 4 ratings

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Product description

A heart-stopping tale of football and war from one of the world’s finest children’s writers. The only thing Billy ever wanted was to play football! He was faster and better on the ball than kids twice his age. His dream came true when he was picked to play for Chelsea, and became a champion soccer star. But that was in 1939, the year the Second World War began… and Billy’s life, like so many others, changed forever. Billy’s no kid now – he’s eighty. But he’s got memories, such memories. Can he use them to turn another boy with a passion for football into a Chelsea champ?

“A thrilling and moving story about a Chelsea footballer who gets caught up in the ravages of the Second World War… Foreman’s shimmering watercolours and line, so agile and expressive, are a perfect match for Morpurgo’s assured and memorable narrative.” TES

“Told with all the author’s open-hearted clarity, and richly illustrated by Michael Foreman.” Guardian

Product Details






HarperCollins Children's Books

Date published

January 1st, 2002

Lexile measure

780L Lexiles are the global standard in reading assessment. They are unique as they are able to measure a child and a book on the same scale – ensuring the right book gets to the right child at the right time.

For more details see What is a lexile?.

Accelerated Reader

AR book level: 4.7; Middle years; 2.0 points

Other details

  • 128 pages




Michael Morpurgo

Photo of Michael Morpurgo


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What kids think

  1. onecoolcookie578
    on 16 March 2014

    this is a really sad book but it is brilliant if you like books about the war if you you haven’t read it then you should

    5out of 5
  2. AngelofDeath
    on 9 March 2014

    A touching story, but there was too much detail.

  3. Spidergirl
    on 5 March 2014

    it fun and joyful and we got to learn about this in school for english

    4out of 5
  4. Nashdasher
    on 9 March 2013

    A sad funny action packed story great

  5. Sherlock25
    on 6 March 2013

    More of a boys story but still sad

  6. dashernasher
    on 6 March 2012

    it’s a good short action packed book.

    5out of 5
  7. monkey00
    on 1 March 2012

    I loved this short action packed book

  8. booksrcul
    on 29 January 2012

    Cool! I never knew about football in the World Wars. It is a very mixed emotion book.

    4out of 5
  9. loi77
    on 19 December 2011

    Amazing, sad and beautiful, funny too. Its amazing how many stories Michael could fit in one small book!

    5out of 5
  10. pikachu8
    on 22 December 2010

    it was ok but i expected more

    3out of 5
  11. xBaTMaNx
    on 15 September 2010

    I’ve Read this book at school it was okay but on the whole I WOULD SAY “NOT FOR ME

    3out of 5