Reviews /

The Last Firefox

Authored by Lee Newbury
Illustrated by Laura Catalan
Published by Penguin Random House Children's UK

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As the subtitle on the front cover of The Last Firefox suggests – Find your Inner Fire – Lee Newbery has certainly woven a tale all about finding your inner fire. The story follows our young hero Charlie as he embarks on a quest requiring courage, loyal friends and a dash of taking down your archenemy!

Charlie is a young boy and the story opens with him in the throes of playing the next stage of the ‘Pebble’ game created by his best friend Lippy. As he is searching for the next pebble’s hiding place, he ends up being chased by a goose! This sets off a chain of events leading to Charlie stumbling across a stranger emerging from some sort of portal to another world. The stranger entrusts him with the ‘Last Firefox’, Firetail whilst at the same time he is warned that there is a great threat in the form of the shape-shifting Grendilock.

Charlie lives in Wales with his dads. He has his best friends, Lippy and Roo. Sadly, at school, he is bullied by Will and his sidekick Zack. His dads have announced to him that they wish to adopt another baby. This triggers a sense of fear and panic in Charlie. Not because he is jealous but because he feels he is not brave enough to look after a baby brother or sister. He hasn’t yet found his ‘inner fire’ as his firefighting dad describes it.

The tale unfolds with Charlie having to confront a number of dangers in his plight to protect his newfound partner Cadno (Welsh for fox). As his love for Cadno grows so does his courage in the face of adversity culminating in his confronting Cadno’s nemesis.

This is a great story for young readers seeking adventure and the great thrill of escaping into thrilling parallel worlds intertwining with our own. For teachers, this is a brilliant book for exploring the structure, features and nuance of this type of storytelling and also to explore the themes of family, adoption, courage, bullying, loyalty and love. A definite for a Key Stage 2 classroom and school library.