Not Bad for a Bad Lad

When a young boy gets a reputation for being naughty at school, everyone says he’s a bad lad – and he reacts by becoming one. Leaving school at fourteen, he becomes a thief and eventually ends up in Hollesley Borstal. But kindly Mr Alfie, the stable manager, decides to give the boy a second chance, and lets him look after his Suffolk Punch horses. In a dramatic turn of fortune, the boy’s skill with the horses saves him from a life of crime: on leaving borstal, he gets a job working with horses in the army, and finally achieves a lifelong dream of becoming a drum major!

Based upon real facts, this is an enthralling tale of redemption and change from one of our greatest living children’s authors. It features stunning colour illustrations from Michael Foreman, as well as a non-fiction section on Hollesley Borstal and the Suffolk Punch horse.

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Recent reviews

  • this book is really good if you love horses you’ll love this read it because its the best

    14 March 2014

  • liked it

    I enjoyed this book quite a bit. I have read it twice. I wish to own this book but I have no room In my bedroom.

    27 February 2014

  • loved it

    It was awesome and i love horses !!

    1 November 2011

  • loved it

    amazing emotional

    13 June 2011

  • liked it

    Not Bad For A Bad Lad by Michael Morpurgo is a very short read and it’s a touching story of a Grandpa’s life when he was a lad. He wants his grandson to know all about it so he writes it down so he knows the truth. As always with Michael Morpurgo’s books I really liked it this one but sometimes find his shorter stories can be easily forgotten

    3 March 2011

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  • Photo of Michael Morpurgo

    Michael Morpurgo

    Master storyteller Michael Morpurgo has written over 100 books for children, and has won a multitude of awards as well as serving as Children’s Laureate from 2003-2005.


    Michael was the Children’s Laureate 2003-2005, and has won many awards including The Whitbread Prize For The Wreck of the Zanzibar, the Smarties prize for The Butterfly Lion the Blue Peter Award for Private Peaceful and the Red House award for Shadow.

  • Awards

    Michael Foreman has won the Kate Greenaway medal three times, and the Nestle Smarties Prize twice for illustration of books including War Boy and The Little Reindeer.

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