POG is an incredibly poignant, yet ultimately up-lifting story, tackling the difficult subject of family grief in a skilful and sensitive manner. I became absolutely absorbed in the lives of Penny and David Cresswell as they struggle to come to terms with the death of their mother.
The family move to a rather dilapidated house in the forest, with past family history. Eleven-year old David, who is angry and hurting, soon wanders into the forest where he has a strange encounter, the consequences of which haunt him for much of the story.
The family’s move into their new home draws unwelcome guests, from the weakening Necessary boundary, who are drawn to the heart-wrenching grief of the family’s memories of loss.
Fortunately, Pog, one of the First Folk, who has been charged with protecting our world from the perils that lurk beyond the Necessary, is living in their attic and knows how to handle a staff and sword. And what a hero he is! A two-foot-tall warrior, just as adept with words as with actions. Compassionate, clever, courageous: I adored him!
Although their first encounter with Pog doesn’t happen in the most fortuitous of circumstances, a heart-warming relationship soon develops between Pog and the children as they join forces against the invasion of some rather grisly creatures such as the greebeldies and bloodworms. What follows is perfectly-paced action with elements of danger, deception and betrayal balanced with cathartic moments, humour and bravery.
For me, what really shines through in this story is the courage the children show, with the help of Pog, to confront their terrible loss and begin to heal their pain through ultimately having the strength to focus on the importance of joyful memories and embrace a new beginning.