Pages & Co: Tilly and the Book Wanderers by Anna James
by Mary Esther Judy
Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents’ bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories. One day, Tilly discovers that her favourite book characters are appearing in the shop, crossing over from the page into real life. Not only that, but she can step out of her world into any book she chooses. Tilly is a book wanderer!
She is not alone in this unique talent, as there are hundreds of book wanderers in the world. With the help of Anne of Green Gables, Alice in Wonderland, and new friend Oskar from the bakery across the street, Tilly steps in between the covers of her mothers’ favourite book, determined to solve the mystery of what happened all those years ago. She enters the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.
This is a real treat; a book that takes the reader into the world containing all the possibility, imagination and adventure of books. It is written in a style that allows you to walk into the story and become part of it; the story pulling you along with Tilly every step of the way. Tilly is brave, determined and clever; a real risk-taker, even after she understands the exact nature of the risks. Her developing friendship with Oskar, who isn’t really into books, makes the whole tale come alive. He is dyslexic, sceptical of Tillys’ claims and, after he strangely experiences book wandering himself, acts as a loyal friend, but more cautious voice to Tillys’ bold actions.
The eerie, enigmatic Enoch Chalk is a superb baddie with a creepy hidden agenda; appearing unexpectedly as the pair travel from book to book. The world-building; the structure of each book-world entered is given careful attention, so that it all becomes utterly believable, even possible to the reader, themself. The story wraps itself around you and carries you away. Even as you hold the book in your hands, the magical spell is cast.
The small, silhouetted vignettes scattered within the pages lend it a truly ‘classic’ feel. Friendship, adventure, mystery, enchantment….you couldn’t ask for more. If you weren’t a bookworm before, you will be after reading Tilly and the Book Wanderers. This is a book to get lost in time and again. An utter delight!