Well, I just loved this book! Debut author, Lee Newbery, is a very welcome addition to the middle-grade bookshelf, with his heart-warming story that has so much to say for itself. Charlie already has lots going on his life. He’s coping with the unwanted attention from bullies at school, concerned with moving on to secondary school as he comes to the end of Year 6 and at home, his two Dads have just told him that they would like to adopt another child into their family unit.
Whilst visiting the local castle, Charlie suddenly finds himself swept into a magical adventure, when he becomes the temporary guardian of a firefox, the last of its kind who, to make matters worse, is being hunted by a sinister creature from another world.
What follows is a real mixture of laugh out loud moments, as Charlie tries to keep Cadno the firefox hidden from his Dads and school friends, plus heart stopping twists and turns as the two worlds collide and Charlie has to find his inner fire to save the important things in his life.
The illustrations from Laura Catalan perfectly accompany the story; I think my favourite is the one of Cadno swinging from a scorched washing line of clothes, after his game becomes slightly more fiery than intended.
The book handles the issues within Charlie’s life in a beautifully natural way and the author’s desire to provide representation for children who have same-sex parents and/or are adopted definitely fulfils his self-appointed brief. I think that any reader will find much to enjoy in this book; it is a fun, magical adventure with mystical creatures both good and evil, there’s a group of best friends that we would all like to have and, without giving anything away, a very satisfying outcome for all, showing that bravery comes in many shapes and forms.
Now, where can I get myself a firefox?