Title: Lucky Button
Author: Michael Morpurgo
Illustrator: Michael Foreman
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Older children/Middle grade
Book Format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description: Jonah has always struggled to fit in at school.  He’s too busy caring for his mother to make friends.  But when he finds a lucky button, it connects his world with Nathaniel’s, a foundling boy from the eighteenth century.  Can Nathaniel’s story help Jonah?  And can the lucky button work its magic again?

A moving story about friendship, fortune and music from the master storyteller Michael Morpurgo.

*Free copy provided by publisher for a review…


I enjoyed this story. ‘Lucky Button’ is a little larger in height and width than most reading books and is filled with thick matt pages (like the types you see in colouring books) making this a little heavier than the average reading book. The story follows Jonah, a boy who cares for his unwell mother while at home, and gets bullied while at school. One day when the bullying is too much for him, Jonah retreats to the school chapel. There he meets an old man, a ghost, who tells him a very interesting story.

Nathaniel, the old ghost Jonah meets, tells him all about his life starting with being a foundling child at the Foundling Hospital, back in the 18th century. His story is an interesting one and covers both the bad experiences kids had in such places as well as the good. I won’t give away too much, but Nathaniel meets some interesting and well known historical figures along the way, and it ultimately leads to an uplifting and heartwarming end.

Lucky Button book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

The book has many illustrations throughout, some are fitted in spaces around the text while others take up whole pages or even double pages. The illustrations are a mix of black and while and coloured ones, which at first I thought were linked to whether the images showed something positive or negative but there’s no real reason for one image to be coloured while another is not so I’m not sure why they were done in this way, I personally would have preferred them to be all colour or all not. I do like the way the images look though, the style fits perfectly with the old fashioned feel to this book and I wish there had been more of them. Although I had no trouble understanding the story, the way Nathaniel speaks is slightly old-fashioned, which some kids might find a bit difficult to read.

At the back of the book there is some information on the real Foundling Hospital and who set it up and supported it. It’s interesting when you realise that the book is based on some real facts and I love the images of some of the ‘tokens’ which were left with the infants. The story is good and I like the way the two boys, Nathaniel and Jonah, share a connection. There is a great ending for both Nathaniel and Jonah and although this may seem a little too perfect with the way everything went and who Nathaniel meets during his life, it fits perfectly with the overall tale being told. It reminds me of some other children’s stories I’ve read (or seen as movies) set in the past which have very happy endings even though the reality for kids back then wasn’t so happy.

Lucky Button book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

Despite enjoying the story and the historical setting, I just didn’t find it as memorable as I’d hoped. I often think about how memorable a book feels after I’ve read it and, for some reason this just didn’t feel as good as some books. It’s a heartwarming story, but I didn’t really feel that much of a connection to either character and so I could easily put the book down. It felt like quite a simple story too, even though some of the language Nathaniel used was not. Regardless of that though I’d still recommend trying this book, especially given the fact it’s based on some real facts. It’s a feel good story, although I’m not sure how moving it is to others.

Do you like this book?  What about other books by Michael Morpurgo?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂