A Song for Will: The Lost Gardeners of Heligan by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey

Young Quills Reviews

Published 20th March 2018

1.  By Dominic

'A Song for Will' by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey is a really good book because at the end you discover that it is based on real people. It's a fictional book with some factual storyline: it is set at Heligan in Cornwall and some of the characters are based on real people who lived during World War I. I like the layout a lot because it is unusual. It is set out like letters being sent backwards and forwards between the workers at Heligan and their friends at war.

Alfie, the protagonist, is a worker at the Gardens of Heligan and his two friends Fred and Will go off to war. Will has to leave the linnet he once rescued behind to serve his country.

The story continues through the letters but then we find Will has died and the linnet (Hope) stops singing. Everyone at Heligan is deeply upset. Not long after that, the war ends, and Fred returns safely home. They have a funeral for Will and up from a branch in the tree Hope starts singing again.

This book was unusual but, in some places, it was quite hard to read. I didn't much enjoy the book at the start but as I got further through the book I started to like it a lot more. I learnt a bit about what it must have been like to live during World War I. I would give this book a 9/10.

 

2.  By Finlay

It was a good book because it is written in the format of lots of letters describing a story and this is very different and unique. I liked Heligan because they were all friendly there and cared for each other when someone was ill or sad.  It is written as if it was written then so it is very realistic and made me want to find out more about the war. I didn't really know the authors before so I didn't realise there are anymore books however it didn't persuade me to read any more of them.

 

3.  By William

This is a good book and an adventurous read. I liked the fact that the story was not told in the first person, but in a letter format.  It is on a good subject, written formally and in the present tense. I like that the story is about war and how lives were lost. The drawings were very good with lots of detail and I especially liked the pictures of Heligan Gardens. All of the characters have a good personality and are funny. My favorite character is Will, mainly because my name is William and that is my name too! This book is of a factual/drama genre.

I personally think that "A Song For Will" is a good read and I would recommend it to some of my classmates, who like these types of books. There are no mistakes or typos and the writing is descriptive and reads well. I really like your book and hope to read more books by you in the future. Although the book is a little bit short so it took me only 2 days to read,  it is a lovely book and I really enjoyed the time spent reading it.

In summary this is a really good factual book with lots of descriptive language.

Rating: 10/10

 

4.  By Manahil

A Song for Will and the Lost Gardeners of Heligan is a great book that includes great descriptive language and includes non-fiction events. From the front cover it shows a solider standing at the front and behind the title, Britain's flag which tells me it is indicates this is going to be about war. It is set in World War I and as you read you realise this book isn't like any normal book instead of normal paragraphs it is letters from a boy called Alfie who lives in heligan and used to be a gardener but is now writing letters to his friend called Fred who is currently a solider in the war. But other than those 2 there is Will, who also is in the war , and Ida, who makes the food there is also hope, who always wishes and wonders when Will could come back, Mr Griffin, Will's mother, Mrs tremayne and more. In the plot what happens is that Alfie and Fred write letters to each other and explain what is going on, one major point in the story when will comes back and the he was about to leave for the second time instead of what he did the first time he left (Look back and wave) just left and at that point I knew he wasn't coming back. After when the letters had stopped it takes you inside Alfie's diary. I learnt a lot from this book, that the tensity if you don't know if your father, brother or best friend will return from the war, I also learned about how many soldiers sadly passed away and how many survived which include actual pictures and historical info about the person for example their job in the war, some were soldiers and some were gardeners it gave me great knowledge. I would definitely recommend to everyone at all ages, as it has a really intriguing plot line which hooks the reader as well as some mesmerising pictures which really explains the page well some can just look at the pictures and read the page! It has bold and beautiful colours which illustrate the point well.

For me I would give a big bold FIVE STARS as it made me read all kinds of different book genres and it had a deep moral at the end, everyone should get a chance to read.

 

5.  By Henry

The book was very good because the things that happened were real. One of my favourite bits was when Will was in the trenches because the illustrations were incredibly realistic and exciting. The way that it was written made feel like I was actually there. It showed me how scary history can be. I think it would probably appeal to people who like history. The pictures were unique because they looked cartoony but at the same time they looked realistic.

What I didn't like about the book is that one of the main characters died in the war. It made me feel sad. I didn't mind too much because a book can give you mixed emotions as you read it.

 

6.  By India

This book is about a little boy called Alfie who lives at heligan gardens, at heligan gardens they have to do lots of chores. It has made me think just how lucky we are to have mums and dads that live with us and lots and lots of toys. I have enjoyed reading this book because it tells a real life story, although when Will dies it is upsetting. Will is someone who lived at heligan gardens and went to war but unfortunately passed away. My favourite place would have to be Heligan Gardens because it shows that happieness can still be found when bad things are happening. I thought that the history in the book was very realistic. The book definitely has incouraged me to read lots more history books and I have already started reading a history book about the first world war.

 

7.  By Jessica

A Song for Will is about a group of boys who work at the Gardens of Heligan. When the First World War arrives, everything starts to change. Most of the boys go off to war but Alfie, the errand boy, is too young to go so he is left behind at Heligan.

Throughout the story, Alfie exchanges letters with his friend who is at war. You find out both of their adventures, good and bad, and some will bring tears to your eyes.

I really enjoyed reading this book because it was different, the way it was written was very clever and you could see just what their lives were like. The book brought tears to my eyes, knowing that what happened in the story happened in real life. I could almost see everything happening in front of me. This book took me back in time to WWI and showed me what the real experience would be like.

I am going to find out if the author has written other books and if so, I will definitely read them.

 

7.  By Mia

A Song for Will was a very inspirational book as it is about soldiers who fought in the First World War but still managed to keep their spirits up.  As well as that, it is also about what happens in their home town, Heligan and how people react to the changes.  I found that the authors were able to convey so much feeling and I was able to put myself in other people's shoes.  A thing that I loved is that all the information was conveyed through letters. This book was very beautiful and I thought that each picture was chosen with care.

 

8.  By Molly

A Song for Will is about a young man called Alfie who is disappointed that he is too young to go to war. But his jealousy turns into worry for his Heligan friends when his friend, Fred the Stonemason, writes to him telling Alfie how bad war is. 

This book made me realise how lucky we are to be living. It made me realise the people fought and died for us. It also made me realise how the people who weren't fighting tried to get on with life. This book made me realise a lot of things.

I really like the way the book was set up. I like the way that it was letters or diary entries not narration. The book is so beautifully illustrated that the summer party and when Will left, waving, are images that will stay with me for ever.

My favourite character is Will because he was a normal gardener who loved his job and he was also great with animals. I felt really sorry for him because he died a few months before the war ended.

 

9. By  PJ

I really like it and think it should be in every book corner and as it's made of letters rather than being a straight story, you have to work out what's going on.  It could be longer, it didn't really teach me anything historical because I already know about that war. It didn't make me cry or laugh that much but the pictures helped my imagination.

 

10.  By Sophie

This is not the type of book I would normally choose but I thought that I would give it a go. It's great to see how people would send letters back in those days. I like the book because it is very details and the letters were interesting to read. The illustrations were also beautiful and definitely make it more child friendly. They are full of little details which show what life was like then.

It is based on two people sending letters to each other- Fred and Alfie. Other characters appears such as Will, Daisy and Joe.

At the end of the book they talk about the people who survived and those who didn't survive the war. It's an interesting way to write a book and definitely something that took me out of my comfort zone. I would recommend this book and have other friends reading it now.

 

11.  By Sam

This is not the type of book I would normally choose but I thought that I would give it a go. It's great to see how people would send letters back in those days. I like the book because it is very detailed and the letters were interesting to read. The illustrations were also beautiful and definitely make it more child friendly. They are full of little details which show what life was like then.

It is based on two people sending letters to each other- Fred and Alfie. Other characters appears such as Will, Daisy and Joe.

At the end of the book they talk about the people who survived and those who didn't survive the war. It's an interesting way to write a book  and definitely something that took me out of my comfort zone. I would recommend this book and have other friends reading it now.

 

12.  By Lottie

I enjoyed the book because it was a true story and I really like true stories. In the book, I liked it when Fred wrote to Alife from the trenches. I think that the history in the book was realistic as I looked up all the characters and they had same description only slightly different. I think that the history in the book was really interesting and I would like to read more books by these authors.

 

13. By Josh

I enjoyed the book because it was letters from the trenches and lots of things about the soldiers. I really liked the characters called Fred and Alfie.

I thought the history was accurate because the pictures looked true. I thought it really encouraged me to learn about World War I and this author made me want to find out more about it.

 

14.  By Limony:

I rather like reading this book it filled me with sympathy and sorrow as the letters flung back and forth until one day they stopped. I also deeply enjoyed it yet was keeping my eyes on the paper at all time as I was drawn to the pages of such wonder. The ending filled me in deep agony as they hade made a list of those who fought for us and sadly perished. Also those who went on through the fight and safely made it home to live in peace! The history was realistic and very true and I am definitely going to learn more about the time era and wouldn't mind reading another book by the same people! 

15 By Jasmine

Imagine a book, a book based on a tragic time in history, World War 1. Now imagine that this book is written, not in chapters or paragraphs, but with letters, from a young errand boy named Alfie to a soldier in the war called Fred. This book is A Song for Will and the Lost Gardeners of Heligan, a touching, emotional story which can almost reach out to you and bring you into Heligan, and take you on the journey with everyone else. The last few pages really hit my heart, and I wondered how anyone could cope with such a rollercoaster of emotions and such a harsh way of living. While reading it, I began to understand that life isn't  always a fairy-tale, and that things can never go perfectly. 

I especially love that, despite the pain, Fred and Alfie still manage to make jokes while writing to each other, proving that even the smallest of things can easily lift your spirits during hard times. After finishing the book, I immediately wanted to learn more, find out more, and just keep on reading about this difficult period of time. I became particularly attached to Hope, a linnet which Will had found, injured, by the Handkerchief Tree, as the way she handled the war ending was so beautiful and heart-warming. 

If there is a sequel to this book, I need to be informed immediately, for I enjoyed it thoroughly and would love more. I would recommend this book to 9-13 year olds who know a bit about war already, and who enjoy reading, but you can read this story no matter your age or your personality, I know I would!

 

15. By Euan

What the book is about: The book is about the First World War and has three main characters. Two of them are soldiers in the war, Will and Fred. Will and Fred don't send letters to each other, but they send letters to the other main character, Alfie. (But obviously Alfie sends letters to both of them). 

My favourite character is: Hope. Hope is a bird who lives with Alfie and his family.

I chose this character because at the end of the story, the beauty of Hope starting to sing the song for Will is amazing, and Hope is just a beautiful, elegant character. 

My favourite part is: I can't choose one favourite part of the book because I feel like the story doesn't have a lot of variety. One thing I like is that the story it is made up entirely of letters between the characters, because it's a different style to what I usually read. 

Conclusion: Overall, I didn't think the story was my taste. I do like that it's written in letters and it's a true story, but I didn't think it had any variety (like I said before). I feel like it's chapter one over and over again. Parts of it were okay but it wasn't what I had in mind. I think this book might be good for learning stuff about WW1 for some people, but I don'tthink I learnt much from this book.  

I have decided to give this book 3/10 

I want to say thanks for being given this opportunity to read the book and write a review on it. Sorry if any mistakes have been made.