Joy and heartbreak combine in this bittersweet tale of a champion greyhound's journey through life - and from owner to owner...
"The sack wasn't just drifting gently along like everything else, it was turning of its own accord. There was definitely something inside it, struggling against the side of the plastic bag, kicking at it, squeaking and squealing in terror. He had no idea what it might be, only that it was alive and in danger of drowning."
When Patrick saves a litter of greyhound puppies from the canal, he can't bear to hand them all over to the RSPCA. He pleads with his parents: couldn't he just keep one of them? But nothing will convince them and Patrick cries himself to sleep - only to be woken by a greyhound puppy licking his face!
Patrick christens his puppy Best Mate, and that's what he becomes. Patrick's favourite thing is to watch Best Mate running at full stretch on the heath, a speeding bullet, a cheetah-dog. Until one day Best Mate is kidnapped by a greyhound trainer, and begins a new life as a champion race dog. Suzie, the greyhound trainer's step-daughter, loves Best Mate on first sight and gives him a new name, Bright Eyes. But what will happen when he can't run any more?
Michael Morpurgo OBE is one of Britain's best-loved writers for children, and has sold more than 35 million books around the world. He has written more than 150 novels and won many prizes, including the Smarties Prize, the Whitbread Award and the Blue Peter Book Award, while several of his books have been adapted for stage and screen, including the global theatrical phenomenon War Horse. Michael was Children's Laureate from 2003 to 2005, and founded the charity Farms for City Children with his wife, Clare. He was knighted in 2018 for services to literature and charity.