Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.
"The path of duty did indeed lie plain before Caroline's unwilling eyes. It would, she consoled herself with Mick's first argument, be impossible to sleep anyway. She couldn't help saying though, as she picked up the bucket again, 'It will be fun if they discover us in the Cave, won't it?' She knew if she didn't voice her secret fear it would haunt her with increasing intensity through the evening's ordeal."
Set on the island of Clerinel, an imaginary site in the Channel Islands that forms a peaceful haven for the summer holidays. The site is under the looming threat of siege by German occupation as it is so short a flip from the South East coast of England.
The geography of the wooded island with its thyme and heather, makes it the perfect place for mounting an attack. Opportunity presents itself during the Pony Club's anniversary celebrations when the members don fancy dress outfits. With the inevitable occupation underway, the inhabitants of the island are evacuated, but Caroline and her brother are left behind along with the horses. Endeavouring to evade capture, they retreat into a Cave and struggle to come to terms with the new regime on the island.
Family life is contrasted with the threats and conflict of war and there is a strong sense of independence in the children when they are left marooned upon the island following its evacuation. Filled with adventure, the novel also makes the perils of occupation feel real. One of the achievements of the book is the way the island itself becomes almost a microcosm for Europe with French, English and German identities and presence brought together. A common interest in horse-riding bridges some of the differences between the nationalities represented and acts as a potent reminder that despite political allegiance, the interests, leisure pursuits and preoccupations often find similar outlets.