Review Blog

Jul 02 2015

If you find this by Matthew Baker

cover image

Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471404528
(Age: 9-11) Grief and loss. Treasure hunts. Bullying. School life. Family life. Grandparents. Prodigies. Nicholas is an eleven year old maths and music prodigy, his inner dialogue is written with musical notations to describe the sounds around him and he's obsessed with prime numbers. He is socially isolated and takes solace in talking to the tree where his parents buried his brother who died prematurely. He believes the tree is his brother embodied in a new form and he treasures the pine needles and cones. Nicholas's life is a difficult one, school is problematic, social situations awkward and he is being bullied. When his grandfather appears after 30 years in prison, full of tales about buried treasure hidden in an old derelict house, Nicholas is soon caught up in an adventure. Unfortunately, Grandpa Rose is beginning to suffer from dementia and it is difficult for him to remember just where he hid the heirlooms in the ghost house.
This is a uniquely written story, every time anyone talks a musical notation is added as a subscript. The narrative is told using different perspectives, Grandpa Rose's journal entries and Nicholas' inner dialogue and observations. The level of bullying is quite intense and the inclusion of a seance, bartering with the local witch and helping with a breakout from the nursing home makes this a novel for older readers.
Rhyllis Bignell

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