Reader Reviewed Wave by Paul Dowswell


Written by Paul Dowswell

13+ readers   Books of the Month   YA readers   The First World War   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

July 2016 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 World War One didn’t just affect those involved in the fighting but those left at home, and subsequent generations too as this novel shows. Charlie joins up, underage, in a rush of excitement and tragically so does his even younger brother. His experience of the trenches and the Battle of the Somme is vividly described, though the facts are well known now this feels a very personal account. Charlie survives, but changed by his experiences. Two images stick in the mind: fruit cakes sent to the soldiers by mothers and wives at home; Charlie years later pacing the streets at night unable to escape the memories of the trenches. Charlie’s great-grandsons have a part to play too, and through them we see how even a century on, the effects of the war are still felt. ~ Andrea Reece

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+

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Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Robert Heathcote, age 13 - 'I have never read a book through before because I soon lose interest however this book is short and manageable but it also has a good story-line and this kept my interest all the way through.'
  • Dylan De Los Santos, age 11 - 'Wave is an amazing book about the history of war and the point of view of a soldier in the war.'
  • Joseph Harris-Hart, age 14 - 'A great historical fiction, short story which I would recommend.'
  • Alec Faulkner, age 12 - 'A short book but with a great storyline that kept me gripped all the way through.'
  • Anastasia Abdian, age 11 - 'Wave is a moving yet eye-opening book about some of the horrors of WWI ...This book will bring a tear to your eye with the reality and heart-retching sadness of it.'
  • Emily Kirby, age 12 - 'It’s quite a good story.'
  • Dylan De Los Santos, age 11 - 'Wave is an amazing book about the history of war and the point of view of a soldier in the war.'
  • Robert Heathcote, age 13 - 'I have never read a book through before because I soon lose interest however this book is short and manageable but it also has a good story-line and this kept my interest all the way through.'
  • Kyle Chaplin, age 10 - 'I find it hard to ‘get into’ books yet I still really enjoyed reading this book and would suggest to anyone else like me.'


Wave by Paul Dowswell

Brothers Eddie and Charlie find a photo of the great-great-uncles they were named after and discover an amazing story of WWI, at the Front and back at home. Assured that the Germans have been destroyed by bombardment, the earlier Eddie and Charlie are sent into No Man's Land in the 'First Wave' of the Somme. But when Charlie is forced to leave Eddie behind, his life is haunted by grief and guilt.

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+

About the Author

Paul Dowswell

Paul Dowswell cemented his position as one-to-watch in the world of children’s historical fiction with his much-acclaimed WWII novel, Ausländer. Throughout all of his fiction, Paul weaves meticulous research into thrilling narrative that will engage young readers.

A former senior editor with Usborne Publishing, Paul Dowswell is now a full-time author. He has written many non-fiction titles, two of which were shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award. Powder Monkey, his first novel, was published to huge critical acclaim. Ausländer was shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize and the Red House Children’s Book Award. He currently lives in Wolverhampton with his family.

Paul on his inspiration for Cabinet of Curiosities:

The Cabinet of Curiosities is set in 16th Century Prague, during the reign of Rudolph II. Lukas Declercq, fleeing the Inquisition in his native Ghent, arrives in the city in 1598 to be apprentice to his Uncle, court physician Anselmus Declercq.

Seeking company away from the staid confines of the castle, Lukas is drawn to the excitement of the city’s darker side. He becomes an unwitting pawn in the battle to control what people are permitted to say and think. (Here the story shares some ground with my previous book Ausländer about a teenager in Berlin during the Second World War.) Ultimately, Lukas learns how to make his own choices between
right and wrong, and that the answer is rarely clear-cut.

The idea behind the story was inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s fruit ’n’ veg portrait Vertumnus, of Rudolph II. A culture which produced something so magnificently strange and original sparked further investigation.

I visited Prague and the Castle whilst researching the book. Woodcuts and engravings from the era show that much of the city remains from Rudolph’s time. The contents of his Cabinet of Curiosities – an extraordinary collection of mechanical and scientific instruments, specimens, paintings, and relics – are well documented. Four huge rooms contained everything from astrolabes and orrerys to Dürer’s famous watercolour of a young hare, and, supposedly, nails from Noah’s Ark and feathers from a phoenix. Much of the Cabinet was scattered to the four corners of Europe when the Castle was looted by Swedish Troops in 1648 during the 30 Years War. A fraction remains in Prague. The rest can be found in museums and art galleries around the world.

Rudolph was plagued throughout his life by severe depression – all the more reason to admire his open mindedness, tolerance, and passion for art and science. In a Europe haunted by the Inquisition, his Prague was an oasis of free-thinking where Catholics, Protestants and Jews lived side by side. Here, natural philosophers could investigate and share their knowledge of the newly-emerging sciences without fear of being executed as heretics. This was an age, after all, where an astronomer could be burned at the stake for stating that the Sun was at the centre of the Solar System rather than the Earth. In his patronage of alchemy and fascination with the world, Rudolph was an early champion of the Scientific Revolution of the 17th Century.

Photo credit David Rann

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Book Info


88 pages
Interest Age: From 8 to 12 years


Paul Dowswell
More books by Paul Dowswell

Author's Website


Barrington Stoke Ltd

Publication date

15th June 2016




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