A beautifully told, magical adventure.
Fionn and his sister Tara travel to from Dublin to stay with their Grandfather on Arranmore Island. Fionn has never met his Grandfather or been to the Island where both his parents were born. Fionn is understandably nervous, particularly given that he is terrified of the sea and only has his very annoying older sister for company. Tara has been to Arranmore, and all she wants to talk about is Bartley Beasley, the boy she met on a previous visit. As the story develops, Fionn learns more about his eccentric Grandfather and the secrets of the magical, mysterious Island.
This book is wonderfully written: every word leaps off the page and draws you into the story, and the figurative language paints images which bring the settings and experiences to life. Fionn is a very relatable character, who has to deal with challenges such as loneliness, fear and bullying, and I enjoyed following his development as he learns more about himself and his potential.
Occasionally, the story is a little scary, but this makes it all the more gripping, and I don’t think it is too frightening for this age group. Perhaps just be aware if you have a particularly sensitive reader. The book provides opportunities for great PSHE discussions about bullying, bereavement (Fionn’s Dad dies before he was born) and depression (Fionn’s Mum).
I do think this is a “Must Read” for children and adults alike – stunning!
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