Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

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Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

Chapter One

Page 1

  • Michael disappeared in 1988, why did it take so long for him to tell the world about what happened? (Kensuke made him promise to say nothing at all for at least ten years)

Page 2

  • Why has Michael finally decided to tell all about what happened? (he’s had time to think, gone to college, doesn’t want to tell lies any more. He also wants the world to know about Kensuke as a good person)

  • Who lived in his house, before his disappearance? (Mother, Father, Michael and the dog, Stella (short for Stella Artois))


  • What was his early life like, what did he used to do every day? (down the road to school, off don the rec’ for football after school)

  • Why did his Dad call his school the ‘monkey school’? (he said the children gibbered and screeched and hung upside down on the climbing frame)

Page 3

  • Why did his team win so easily when they played on his pitch? (they knew where it was muddy and the ball would stick and could get the goals in before the other team realised the ball wouldn’t bounce)

  • Why did he do the paper round? (saving up for a mountain bike)

  • What was the problem though? (kept spending instead of saving!)

  • Why were Sundays special? (went dinghy sailing as a family on the reservoir)

Page 4

  • Where did his parents work? (at the brickworks)

  • Why did they like sailing so much? (fresh air, clean air)

  • What sort of weather stopped them sailing? (nothing stopped them)

  • What was he better at than his parents? (fishing)

Page 5

  • Why did Stella find fishing so boring? (nothing to bark at)

  • What was the big upset that happened one day? (the brickworks were going to close, a letter came)

  • Why didn’t they go sailing anymore? (upset about losing their jobs, life wasn’t fun anymore as they were looking for other jobs, even sailing wasn’t enough to cheer them up)

  • What was the big upset that happened to Michael? (Eddie, his best friend moved down south as his dad got a job down there, the Mudlarks disbanded)

Page 6

  • What happened one Saturday, why was his Mum crying? (Dad had gone, not for good, he had had an idea)

  • What did this idea mean they had to do? (move south)

Page 7

  • Why was his father so upset before he left? (he was upset that it was his son, Michael who was bringing in the only money, had nothing to be proud about, had lost his place in the household as the breadwinner)

  • Why did his Mum not want to go? (because she had been born there)

  • Why did his Dad seem so changed when they all met up again? (had sorted everything out, had a brilliant idea, had made up his mind)

Page 8

  • Who is Peggy Sue (a boat)

Page 9

  • Why did his Dad make his decision? (knew they all loved sailing, had some money saved up, decided to do something special, make a new life)

Page 10

  • What did his Dad think they would be thinking? (that they had only been dinghy sailing on ther reservoir, that he was going loopy,that they’d be broke)

  • How long did they intend to be away? (18 months, as long as the money lasted)

Page 11

  • Who would be the skipper? (Mum) The first Mate? (Dad) The ship’s boy (Michael) The ship’s cat (Stella)

  • How did they intend to train themselves up? (few trips to France, across to Ireland)

  • What about Michael going to school? (they would take books, they would both teach him and he would teach himself)

Page 12

  • What did Gran think about it all? (all doom and gloom – icebergs, hurricanes, pirates, whales, supertankers, freak waves.

Page 13

  • How did the training go? (longer than they thought, not like dinghy sailing)

  • What did Barnacle Bill think about children and animals (that they were a nuisance)

Page 14

  • Who were scared when training at sea? (Michael and his Dad, but not his Mum)

  • Who was the only one to get seasick? (Mum)

  • What did he discover about his parents? (that they were friends, that his Mum had grit, could be a bit of a tyrant if it wasn’t shipshape)

Page 15

  • What did he think about his Mum? (he had confidence in her, was proud of her, thought she was brilliant)

  • What did Gran want to do when she came to wave them off (go with them to see koalas in the wild)

  • Who else was there? (Barnacle Bill, Eddie, Eddie’s father)

  • What was given to Michael as a lucky mascot? (football)

  • What was so special about the lucky mascot? (Eddie had signed it all over like World Cup stars signing a ball)

  • Why did Michael think Stella fell quiet as they sailed past the Isle of Wight? (she sensed there was no turning back)

Page 15

  • And what did Michael realise then? (that it was not a dream, it was real)

Chapter Two – Water, water everywhere


  • How did Michael spend most of the time? (soaked to the skin)

  • When the sun shone what did they used to do? (haul everything out on deck and turn Peggy Sue into a giant washing line)

  • What was a real luxury? (to be dry)

  • Was there much to do for the three of them on board? (heaps – taking in sail, winching out, taking a turn at the wheel, helping Dad with mending and fixing, mopping up, brewing up, drying up, washing up)

Page 19

  • Who was allowed to be idle? (Stella Artois)

  • How did she spend the rough days on board? (curled up on Michael’s bed in his cabin)

  • And the finer and calmer days? (on watch up at the bow, alert for anything that wasn’t sea)

  • What animals did Stella see? (dolphins, porpoises, whales, sharks, turtles)

  • What would they all do when they saw sea animals? (Mum would take videos, photographs, Dad and Michael would fight over the binoculars, Stella would bark, herding up the creatures)

  • Why did they sometimes find her annoying? (smelly wetness, that wet dog smell that got on everything)

Page 20

  • Why did they not regret bringing Stella? (comforted Mum when sea sick, Michael when terrified by storms)

  • What else wold he keep close by him and why? (Eddie’s football, to remind him of life back on land and what his life was like)

  • Why had the football become a lucky charm to him? (because the storms always blew over in the end, with them still alive and afloat)

  • What did Michael hope his parents would forget? (his schoolwork)

Page 21

  • Why was there no point appealing to his Dad for help when Mum made him do his schoolwork? (because Mum was Skipper, no argument)

  • Why did it make sense to have only one person in charge on the boat? (stop arguments that might lead them into doing something dangerous, time spent arguing could turn a situation into a life-threatening one)

  • What subjects did he study? (Maths, Geography, History, Environmental Studies, Art, Navigation)

Page 22

  • What did he feel sometimes, looking up into the night sky? (that they were the last people on the planet)

  • Why? (just them, the dark seas below and millions of stars above)

  • What was his English work? (his own version of the ship’s log)

  • How often did he have to write in it? ( every few weeks)

  • Why did he find it easy to write his log? (had so much to say, just wrote it down as he spoke to himself)

  • What are the first two chapters? (setting the scene, basic information about himself and his voyage)

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