There is a quote in the front of this book by Robin Stevens which says that this is “The kind of children’s book that’s the reason why adults should never stop reading children’s books”, and I couldn’t agree more. This story contains many layers of issues and complexities, which all need to be dealt with, by a young girl called Frank.
Some of these issues involve bullying, communications, stereotyping and courage. Often Frank communicated with her stomach, which poses an interesting thought, where do you communicate with yourself? Maybe her stomach dealt with feelings of fear, and was where her thoughts emanated from.
The story revolves around a most unlikely friendship that develops between Frank and a boy in her class at school, Nick. Nick rescues her from a gang of bullies who delight in physical and verbal bullying of Frank, at every opportunity. As this occurs during the School holiday’s, they run to Nick’s house, and meet Nick’s father.
Nick is a strange looking boy, extremely tall for his age, and with a face that is grey, and flat. He has no friends and is laughed at in School. Frank is anxious to escape his house, and return home, when she hears the most magical music. It creates feelings of great peace and harmony, and Frank can’t resist trying to find the source. This is how the young girl discovers Nick’s secret.
Enthralled by the music Frank returns to Nick’s house the next day. She learns more about an extraordinary occurrence, which has placed Nick in this world. It is a huge secret, but one which is later wheedled out of Frank by the bullies. Events move quickly, and it takes an enormous amount of courage and bravery and love to sort out this deadly problem.
This is a gripping read and difficult to put down. The illustrations add delightfully to the mystical nature of the story. They are in black and white and shades of grey, adding a gloomy, ethereal quality to the story. Although it is satisfying to see the bullies tamed, Frank moves on from that experience. Just as going back to school, people are shocked to see her befriend Nick, but being older, and wiser, she says “Why not?”
|Author||A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Levi Pinfold|
|Distributor||Bloomsbury/Allen & Unwin|