Felix has been left in an orphanage by his bookseller parents who have supposedly gone to protect their books and business. It is hidden knowledge that Felix is Jewish. When he finds his favourite vegetable, a whole carrot, in his soup, he thinks his parents are sending him a secret sign that they are nearby. Felix is a storyteller and loves reading. His favourite books are the William books by Richmal Crompton because 'He always tries to do good things, and no matter how much mess and damage he causes, no matter how naughty he ends up being, his mum and dad never leave him.'
Felix runs away from the orphanage to find and help his parents. He sees half-naked people packed into a farm truck – 'I get it, they must be farm workers going on holiday. They're so excited about having a swim in the river that they've undressed already.' Even when a soldier on the truck shoots at him, Felix waves to show he's not hurt so the soldier won't worry that he has shot an innocent kid. He finds a burning house with people who have been shot and he rescues their unconscious daughter, Zelda. They are found by Barney, who cares for children.
Morris says, 'I think stories are a bit like x-rays. They show us what's happening inside people. Not to their blood and bones and spleen. To their hopes and fears and dreams and feelings. And ours.'
Morris Gleitzman began his writing career as a screenwriter and wrote his first children's novel in 1985. His brilliantly comic style has endeared him to children and adults alike, and he is now one of Australia's most successful authors, both internationally and at home. He was born in England in 1953 and emigrated to Australia in 1969 so he could escape from school and become a Very Famous Writer!
One of his most successful books for young adults is Two Weeks with the Queen, an international bestseller which was also adapted into a play. Some of his other books include Boy Overboard, Girl Underground, Aristotle's Nostril and Doubting Thomas. In 2005 he wrote the highly successful and critically acclaimed Once, which was an Honour Book in the 2006 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards.
Source: Penguin Books (used with permission)