These are two immersive reads from Harper Collins Children’s Books – thanks for sending them for review
Pages & Co: Tilly and the Map of Stories
Anna James, illustrated by Paola Escobar
”I can’t quite remember the title, … Or the author … but I know that it has a blue cover”. Those words spoken by the man at the front desk of Pages & Co. on the opening page of this third book in Anna James’ wonderful series, sent me straight back to times when years ago during school holidays and on Saturdays I worked in a bookshop and often heard similar.
Tilly and her Grandad are puzzled by the customer’s words especially when Tilly says it’s happened previously; but for Tilly and her family a lot of things are changing, in particular, bookwandering (whereby children are able to enter the world of the book they’re reading) is no longer permitted; but why have the Underwood twins banned it?
Tilly is determined to find out although it means defying her Grandad, leaving the safety of the bookshop and jetting off along with best friend, Oskar, to the USA, destination The Library of Congress. There she hopes to find the long-lost Archivists – an institution that Tilly hopes will put things right once more.
It’s a search that sees them meeting several new characters including American bookwanderers and bookshop owners Orlando and Jorge, Horatio and his nephew Milo, visiting a flaming library, riding on a train named the Sesquipedalian and teaming up with a famous playwright from the 16th century.
Even though this cracking book brings the trilogy to a close, it’s not crucial to be familiar with the previous two adventures, it works as a stand alone novel that’s a veritable tribute to the power of stories, to reading and to the importance of the imagination. Paola Escobar’s occasional black and white illustrations …
help draw readers right inside Anna James amazing story world.
Completely different but equally wonderful in its own way is:
You Won’t Believe This
Adam Baron, illustrated by Benji Davies
Every bit as moving and funny, this captivating story is a sequel to Boy Underwater with Cymbeline Igloo as narrator in another story of family and friendship and events at school, interwoven with threads relating to loss, cultural identity and refugees.
We learn of the strange and terrible things at school happening to Cymbeline’s favourite teacher, Mrs Martin that the boy is determined to get to the bottom of, along with helping his friend Veronique find out why her beloved grandma Nanai is suddenly refusing to eat and making herself extremely ill by so doing.
With Cymbeline being the kind-hearted boy that he is, these two issues are taking up much of his time, time that could be a key factor if he is to prevent Nanai from starving herself to death.
It’s a story that truly tugs at the heartstrings especially when events of the past are revealed, but never does it feel heavy, such is Adam Baron’s lightness of touch as a storyteller.
With occasional strategically placed black and white illustrations by Benji Davies, this is an immersive book for individuals; it would make a smashing read aloud book to share with upper KS2 classes.