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Kensuke, the Japanese soldier who Michael meets on the island, is named after one of Micheal’s fans who he met at a book signing event. It’s pronounced Kensky. Like Private Peaceful, War Horseand several other of Michael Morpurgo’s novels, Kensuke’s Kingdom has been turned into a play. Michael got the name for the main character’s dog, Stellas Artois, from a boy who came to stay on his farm in Devon. The boy’s dog, an Alsatian, was called Stellas Artois.
Kensuke’s Kingdom: Facts About the Book by Michael Morpurgo Kensuke’s Kingdom: Facts About the Book by Michael Morpurgo
As a child Michael Morpurgo enjoyed reading Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, and although this book is very different to Kensuke’s Kingdom, they do share some common ground.
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The front cover of the early edition has an illustration inspired by the work of Japanese painter Hokusai Katsushika. The painter is mentioned in the story, too.