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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Family Friday: Lob by Linda Newbery

A timeless, magical tale of the seasons and the passing of time for this week's Family Friday.

The hardback cover

The paperback cover
Title: Lob
Author: Linda Newbery
Publisher: David Fickling
Published: June 2011
Genre: Children's (7+)

Find it at Amazon UK

I found out about this book through the Awfully Big Blog Adventure Litfest, which featured (among many other fabulous posts) a discussion between Linda Newbery and Julia Jarman, talking about this book and Jarman's book Pillywiggins and the Tree Witch. Both went onto my wishlist at once, and Lob was one of the first books downloaded onto my Kindle.

The Blurb says:
Stand quietly in a park, garden, or the woods one day. Listen! Watch! If you are one of the lucky ones, you will see him. Lob! A green man.

You have to be a special person to see Lob, that’s what Grandpa Will says. Lucy’s parents don’t believe he exists, but Lucy does. And she’s delighted when she finally catches sight of the green man in Grandpa’s garden.

Then something awful happens, and Lucy's life is turned upside-down. Back at home in London, she wonders whether she’ll ever see Lob again. Will he come and find her?


My verdict: a glorious, gentle yet exciting story for young readers. Highly recommended for confident readers of 7+, or as a shared story.
This is a bittersweet story dealing with loss as well as the nature of belief. All of this is wrapped up in the story of Lob, a kind of combination of Green Man and household spirit. There is real magic here, and a story which fosters a genuine love of nature and all that grows, with an emphasis on the natural cycles of the world. Newbery's use of the Green Man is inventive and new, without departing far from existing ideas.

This book is extremely well-written and beautifully illustrated. It had a lovely old-fashioned feel to the voice, which is lyrical and would be great read aloud. The main character of Lucy is well-drawn and interesting: curious, enthusiastic and creative. I'm sure all child readers would find something in her to identify with. The relationship with her Grandpa is another high point and will be familiar to many children who find a special closeness with a grandparent.

Overall, there is much to commend this book: beautiful writing, warmth and depth of feeling, a healthy engagement with nature and its cycles, support for children facing loss. My 7 yr old has a real treat to look forward to!

This is my fifteenth review for the British Books Challenge

6 comments:

  1. It sounds like a very moving book and a good read for kids. How do you get on with reading children's books on the Kindle? Without illustrations I wonder if they lose something.

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  2. The illustrations are still there, so nothing's lost. There are perhaps some spacing issues (a page ends half-way down and when you turn over, the next page is purely illustration), but given that you can change the font size it's impossible to control line length and page ends on a Kindle.

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  3. It looks like a lovely book. I love the name Lob too. Thank you for sharing this!

    I'm a fellow Campaigner!

    The Write Soil

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ooh, I think I may have to check this one out. I remember the post on ABBA, but like a muppet I forgot to make a note of it. I must get used to making a list!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sounds like a lovely book, perfect for cuddling up in bed with the little ones and reading to them.
    Popping over from the campaign :)

    ReplyDelete

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