18th May 2001 at 01:00
KENSUKE'S KINGDOM. By Michael Morpurgo. Read by Derek Jacobi. Unabridged 3hrs 20mins. Collins pound;8.99

Morpurgo's brilliant recreation of Robinson Crusoe is currently being staged by the Polka Theatre, Wimbledon. The tale, in which Michael finds himself on a Pacific island inhabited by an old Japanese man after falling from his parents' yacht, is rich not just in plot and detail, but in brave, accessible themes - protection of oang-utan and turtles, the conflict of human loyalties and an exploration of honour and faith.

Derek Jacobi creates a superbly credible Michael, as well as the old man's angry shouts, which develop into moving paternalism as he learns the language of "Micasan". A better combination of book (published separately by Mammoth) and tape for key stage 3 (and older primary pupils) couldn't be imagined.


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