Review Blog

Mar 13 2019

Pages and Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN: 9780008229863.
(Age: 9-15) Highly recommended. Themes: Books; Reading; Literature; Fantasy; Adventure; Friendship. Pre-teen Matilda (aka Tilly) lives with her grandparents in the Pages and Co Bookshop - a place of mystery, adventure, fantasy and all the other genres as well. The mystery of her absent parents though continues to hang like a dank mist over her life, and some friendship dilemmas makes the 'missing of her mother' into a potent force in her life. When characters from some of Tilly's favourite books start to visit her in the bookshop a world of possibilities open up and adventures follow. Tilly's escape into books grows as bookshops and libraries and the great 'Underlibrary' are revealed as part of the magic of story and literature, and the ability to wander within a book, a skill for a select few, is revealed as a possibility. But there are risks! Fortunately, Tilly finds a friend in Oskar, the boy whose mother runs the cafe across the road, and together they piece together the puzzle of life as a bookwanderer and the mystery of Tilly's mother's absence.
This is an awesome book for lovers of reading. With references to many well-loved books and their characters, particularly Alice in Wonderland, The Little Princess, Anne of Green Gables and with side references to Sherlock Holmes and Pride and Prejudice, this is a book to be enjoyed by those who might already have encountered these classics. However, it may also be an entry point to encourage reading of these books. There are wonderful references to the joy of reading and the capacity for readers to become 'lost' in a book, albeit the author has taken this idea to the more magical extreme. I would think that this book could also make a good shared book as 'a read-aloud' by a teacher, librarian or parent. Getting lost in book together would be a wonderful experience!
Highly recommended for lovers of reading aged 9-15. It is simple enough for young readers, but also enjoyable for those who have always loved reading and may have read the classic stories referred to themselves
Carolyn Hull

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