Review Blog

Feb 17 2014

The Great Fire: A City in flames by Ann Turnbull

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Ill. by Akbar Ali. A & C Black, 2013. National Archives. ISBN 9781408186862.
For readers from 7-9 years of age. Themes: Great Fire of London, 1666, English History, London (England) History. Anne Turnbull's new junior historical novel is set in London in 1666. Sam has been taken by the Giraud family after he was left homeless during the Great Plague. He now enjoys working as their servant boy. His life has settled down and he is thankful to have Budge his dog who proves to be a loyal companion with him. Unfortunately the son Andre constantly bullies him.
Pivotal to the plot is the Great Fire of London that started in Pudding Lane and spreads with ferocity through the city, even burning the houses on London Bridge. Of course the boys are drawn into observing the flames devouring businesses and houses, watching the fire-squirts trying to control the blazes and even helping in the bucket brigades.
Adventure waits as the family flees to safe ground and both Andre and Sam learn the meaning of relying on one another in times of crisis.
Sam's previous adventure (Plague : a cross on the door) described the impact of the bubonic plague's devastating impact in England. Ann Turnbull has partnered with the British National Archives to produce junior novels suited to the English History curriculum.
Rhyllis Bignell

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