First on my 'you must try this book' list then ::
Alone on a Wide Wide Sea
I read lots of children's books because I work in the children's department of a bookstore. I've never read any Morpurgo before, and I loved this. I think he is better known for his animal stories, but this is a biography-style book with a hefty dose of sea-faring which made my heart leap. Lovely book, good writer, gorgeous mix of line drawings and photographic illustrations on the cover, and on each chapter heading.