This is a very welcome return to the magical bookshop of Pages & Co with its close-knit bookwandering family. This time Tilly and her best friend Oskar find themselves wandering through Fairy tale Land to try to save these wonderful tales from becoming lost to readers forever.
Melville Underwood has mysteriously returned to the British Underlibrary, having disappeared many years previously during a book wandering tour, and is made Head Librarian. Immediately, he begins to change the rules for bookwanderers, but for what purpose?
When visiting Oskar’s father in Paris, Tilly and Oskar meet an old, estranged friend of Tilly’s Grandmother who encourages them to bookwander into fairy tales. Despite warnings to the contrary from her Grandparents, Tilly decides to do some investigating of her own in this land. And what an incredible land it is!
I loved the richly drawn world of the fairy tales and its wonderful inhabitants from the kind-hearted, brave Jack to the independent, feminist Rapunzel to the rather playfully devious Hansel and Gretel. I loved how familiar fairy tales are overturned and how characters travel between stories, and know each other within this world. Unfortunately, this magical world is in danger of disappearing, and it is up to Tilly and Oskar to attempt to save fairy tales from becoming forever lost.
Although Tilly loves her Grandparents dearly, she does not agree with all their decisions, and definitely has a strong will which makes her rather rebellious and determined to make her own choices, including wandering into fairy tale land when she has been expressly forbidden. This leads to adventure, wonderful interactions with fairy tale characters, the discovery of important clues, but also danger. Tilly is clever, quick-thinking and resourceful and is very capable of extricating herself from difficult situations, but she can also be impetuous and too trusting which puts her in danger. She is by no means perfect, and this makes her a very believable character, and made me like her even more.
Books welcome everyone who wants to explore them.
As a primary school teacher, I loved the references to the power and importance of reading.
I really enjoyed Tilly’s second adventure which resolves some problems, leaves a few others unresolved, but drops enough tantalising clues to set up Tilly’s next adventure perfectly, and I’m already looking forward to going bookwandering with her again. I would highly recommend this magical read for children of 8+.
Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.