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Heinemann edition, 1999
|Publisher||Egmont UK Ltd|
|Media type||Print (HardbackPaperback)|
|ISBN||Paperback: 978-0439591812 Hardback: 978-1405201940|
Kensuke's Kingdom is a children's novel by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Michael Foreman. It was first published in 1999 by Egmont UK, since when many more editions have been released by various other publishers, such as Scholastic.
A young boy called Michael, travels with his parents around the world on the yacht Peggy Sue after his parents lose their jobs at the brickworks and decide to sail the seven seas. Michael's parents teach him what he would have normally learnt at school and he has a secret log that he writes in. They travel from England to Africa, South America and Australia. He is on lookout one night when Michael and his dog Stella Artois are washed overboard, near the island called Papua New Guinea. They awake to discover that they are stranded on a desert island that is shaped like an elongated peanut in the Pacific Ocean.
While Michael struggles to survive on the island, food is regularly left for him. To his surprise, he learns that an elderly Japanese man called Kensuke is also living on the island. Kensuke helps Michael to survive. He sets rules that Michael thinks are just annoyances, until Kensuke saves him from a jellyfish after warning him never to go in the water.
Michael teaches Kensuke English, and Kensuke teaches Michael how to paint, how to fish and where to find the best food and water. He is eventually revealed to be a doctor and survivor of World War II, and he believes that his family died in Nagasaki after the atomic bomb was dropped there on August 9, 1945. Over time Kensuke begins to understand how Michael feels and how he misses his family. Together they build a beacon that can be lit to signal to ships, but for a long time they see no sign of any ships. Later, however, Michael witnesses a Chinese junk and he consults Kensuke as to whether or not he should light the beacon. Kensuke recognizes the ship as that of poachers, and he and Michael rush to gather all the orangutans into the cave to protect them from the threat that lies in the ship. They nearly succeed but cannot find one particular orangutan, the one Kensuke calls Kikanbo his. The ship arrives and they hear gunshots. When the ship leaves, they discover that some gibbon monkeys have been killed but that Kikanbo is still alive. The next time they see a ship it is not the poachers, and they both light the fire. The crew on the ship see the fire and change direction, heading towards the island. When the boat is closer, Michael sees that the boat is the Peggy Sue, with his parents on board. Kensuke decides at that point, despite thinking otherwise earlier, that he will not be sailing home with Michael; he says "This is my place. This Kensuke's Kingdom. Emperor must stay in his Kingdom, look after his people. Emperor does not run away. Not honourable thing to do." Kensuke tells him to keep everything a secret until ten years have passed, when Kensuke will be dead and transform to a skeleton. Michael runs out to the beach where the ship had landed and is reunited with his parents.