A father dies, a son has to adapt to new circumstances. It is by no means an original starting point for a children’s book but Goodwin succeeds in bringing some fresh insights to the theme. The son in question here is Finn Oliver who, on the eve of his 12th birthday, takes it upon himself to go joy-riding in an old car belonging to his mother: it will be one way of exorcizing memories of his father’s death and, simultaneously, of striking his first gesture of adolescent independence. But the terrain over which he drives is treacherous, the weather appalling – and a dramatic accident occurs. It is here in Goodwin’s story that fantasy takes over. The car, we hear, ‘hit the surface of the Earth at Exit 43’ and we, with Finn, are transported for just over two days to ‘the company of the Woken Dead’: this is an Underworld, well below the Earth’s surface, populated by an entertainingly diverse company of ghosts, most of whom are caught up in various cantankerous power struggles with one another. It is Finn’s fate to become implicated in these, particularly one centring on ‘the prophecy of the Firepearl’, which tells how a mortal child will one day come to the Underworld to free the ‘Firepearl’ from its ‘magical enchantments of fire, water, earth and air’. Some ‘Underworld’ clichés apart, Goodwin’s two worlds blend quite convincingly and her narrative’s resolution is neat and, in some details, rather touching.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2009-11-30 13:30:402022-11-30 13:32:41The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43
Illustrator: Richard Allen