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The Silver Arrow

Thank you so much Mr Grossman, for transporting me to my childhood and keeping me enthralled in a dream. Many children will relate to this fantasy story, The Silver Arrow which has several gentle messages for us all. The author has very cleverly incorporated an escape in time and place for the two young characters, who nevertheless find out that they are important and necessary for the well-being of the planet.

Bored, grumpy, and not looking forward to her birthday, Kate writes a letter to her fabulously wealthy Uncle, asking for a gift. She posts it without an address the night before her birthday, with no real hope that he will receive it.  Imagine the surprise for all, when the next morning the family wake to find a full-size steam engine sitting on the front lawn. Mum is furious with her brother for such a gift and demands that he move it around the back at once.

Kate and her younger brother Tom are enthralled and of course a journey is inevitable. There is a computer outlet in the cabin which types out instructions for them and can issue orders, so what could possibly go wrong? As with the best fantasies, the wonder and delight precede the issues which must follow. It is here that we become aware of Kate’s strengths and her determination to do the right thing. She has a wonderful role model in Grace Hopper, a woman who rose to become a Rear Admiral in the Navy, years before.

Cleverly woven into the story is the plight of many animals. They are waiting to be picked up by the train and gradually Kate realises that they are refugees. They are fleeing for their lives because of dwindling habitats and warming seas. This is an important message to impart to children and also is a wonderful way to do it. Distressed for the passenger animals who have become her friends, Kate is determined to do all she can to protect them.

The many levels and layers of this story make it a compelling read, but also essential messages are explained before Kate gets home to her own bed.

Author Lev Grossman
Publisher Bloomsbury Children's Books
ISBN 9781526629418
Distributor Bloomsbury Children's Books
Released September 2020