Rosen has always been a bit of a firebrand. An outspoken republican, he turned down an OBE, and in the Seventies was reportedly fired by the BBC for being a Communist. But what is so affecting about this book is its gentle tone. Instead of anger, there is contemplation – and, as always with Rosen, an innate ability to see every mystery through a child's eyes. As he writes in one of several poems that intersperse the narrative: "My mother and father were able to survive/ and here we are now and we're all alive."