'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 29 November 2019

Review: Pages & Co: Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales

I couldn't wait to return to Pages & Co and the magically imaginative world of bookwandering. Did you know that there is a whole secret community of bookwanderers out there who can wander inside books and chat to their favourite characters?

Tilly is bookwanderer. She lives in her grandparents bookshop and her Grandad used to be the Head Librarian at the Underlibrary, which monitors the comings and goings of bookwanderers.

Tilly and her friend Oskar wander inside a book of fairy tales and something is not right. There are holes appearing and characters vanishing and puddles of book magic leaking out. What is going on, and how will Tilly and Oskar escape when they accidently end up in another book?

Tilly’s grandparents had warned her fairy tales were unstable. As fairy tales have their roots in oral story telling rather than written-down story telling, bookwanderers can end up wandering into different versions of the story and getting stuck. But even so, Tilly can tell that what she is seeing is beyond just unstable; someone is tampering with the fairy tales! 

The strange new Librarian at the Underlibrary is also causing unrest. He starts changing the rules for bookwanderers and Tilly and her family have a feeling all is not as it seems.

Tilly is a relatable and likeable character. She is intelligent and strong willed and, whilst she loves and respects her grandparents, she also isn't afraid to question their decisions and think for herself. I love all the fairy tale characters she encounters, from friendly and helpful Jack and the Beanstalk to the refreshingly feminist Rapunzel, annoyed by all the princes trying to 'rescue' her.

This is a brilliant middle grade novel perfect for book lovers. It follows on from Tilly’s first adventure in Pages & Co: Tilly and Bookwanderers, where Tilly first discovers her ability to bookwander (when Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland keep turning up in the bookshop to chat to her).

The book is interspersed with black and white illustrations, which add to the magic and mood. There is also some clever text positioning and little spot illustrations to add interest throughout.

I just love the premise of this story. What book loving child doesn’t dream of being able to jump inside their favourite stories and become a part of them. The end of this one does leave things hanging though, so I expect a third book will be on the way soon! When it does, I’ll be lining up to get a copy!

Title: Pages & Co: Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales
Author: Anna James
Illustrator: Paola Escobar
Publisher: HarperCollins, $19.99
Publication Date: 24 September 2019
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN: 9780008229900
For ages: 8+
Type: Middle Grade