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The Boyhood Of Burglar Bill by Allan Ahlberg

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Sixty-six boys, two footballs, two sets of shirts, one madman and a whistle – that’s the basis of the Malt Shovel Rovers. They’re a football team put together to try their luck in the Coronation football competition. A wonderful story about friendship, growing up – and football. Also available in harback.


The Boyhood Of Burglar Bill by Allan Ahlberg

Coronation Year, 1953, and in Oldbury a Coronation football competition is organized. The boys from the bottom pitch get a team up, but there's no chance they'll win, of course. They're just the odds and sods - one of them is even a girl. This is a story of football and friendship in a world when the streets were full of kids and empty of cars.


'An exceptional piece of writing . . . comic, poignant and true. Anyone will be enriched by reading it' Sunday Times

'Affectionately downbeat . . . this artfully informal story has something for
everyone' Nicholas Tucker, Independent

About the Author

Allan Ahlberg

As a child
Allan was born in Croydon, but grew up in Oldbury in the Black Country. He says that if he hadn't grown up to be a writer, he would have loved to have been a soccer player.

As an adult
Allan always dreamed of being a writer, but tried his hand at many other jobs before he achieved his ambition. He was a postman, grave-digger, plumber's mate and teacher - it was teaching that gave him such sharp insights into the minds of children, and enabled him to write his perfectly observed poetry about primary school life

As an artist
Allan has collaborated with many illustrators, including Andre Amstutz, Gillian Tyler and Katharine McEwen, as well as his late wife, Janet Ahlberg (nee Hall) and his daughter Jessica Ahlberg. He has won numerous awards for his books including, the Kurt Maschler Award in 1986, The Children's Book Award in 1987, the Blue Peter Book Award 2001, and The Children's Book Award: Books for Young Children award 2002.

You can see Allan reading from Peepo! in this video:

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Book Info

Publication date

6th March 2008


Allan Ahlberg

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Penguin Books Ltd


192 pages


7+ readers

General fiction (Children's / Teenage)



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