A Finder’s Magic
Philippa Pearce (Juvenile Fantasy)
Till goes to bed in despair and wakes up desperate. So deep is his desperation that you can see it in his dreams. And one night, someone does see it. That someone is a Finder. A Finder that promises Till that he will help him find his beloved lost dog, Bess (for it is her absence that leads to all this unfortunate desperateness). But finding Bess isn’t easy. Clues need to be found, witnesses questioned, and leads followed. Leads that point to a stranger, a thin line of light, and a nursery rhyme.
This book has a rather interesting backstory. Pearce wrote this book for her two grandsons and it was illustrated by the children’s other grandmother, Helen Craig. The main character’s name is an anagram of the two grandson’s names put together (Nat and Will) giving us Tillawn or Till for short. Unfortunately, Pearce died before Craig began illustrating this book and was therefore deprived of seeing the beautiful book that their combined efforts produced.
Pearce gives young readers a wonderful tale of magic, mystery, and mischief. The story deals with issues of loss and trust and tackles both with charm and humor. After the book is finished, parents might want to remind their young reader that this is a fantasy book and, under ordinary circumstances, it is never appropriate to go running off with a stranger, especially one who offers to help you find your dog.
In the end, through all the questioning and searching and worrying, Finder gives Till something that replaces his desperation. He gives him hope and although it’s not what Till wants, it’s what he needs and at that moment, hope is enough.
* Book cover image attributed to www.goodreads.com