Friday, April 10, 2020

MG review of The Bookwanderers (Pages & Co. #1) by Anna James, Illustrated by Paola Escobar

The Bookwanderers (Pages & Co #1) by Anna James, Illustrations by Paola Escobar
Format:  Paperback
Puffin books
Number of Pages:  304
March 3rd, 2020

Publishers Description: Eleven-year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents' bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favorite stories.

One day Tilly realizes that classic children's characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering' - crossing over from the page into real life.

With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.

 Opening Line:  "Matilda Pages pushed open the door of Pages & Co. and breathed in deeply, taking in the familiar scent of just blown out candles, dark chocolate, and of course books."  

Pages & Company sounds so cozy and inviting, it makes me want to curl up with the bookshop cat, read books, eat scones and sip tea.  I'm probably not the only person who'd love to have a bookstore filled to the brim with bookcase after bookcase of fantasy books.  Plus there's the bonus of there being a cafe with a pastry chef who draws inspiration for his desserts from books.  Doesn't that sound heavenly?       

Tilly is an avid reader after my own heart.  I loved that the two books she has a special connection with are Alice in Wonderland and Anne of Green Gables.  James wonderfully captures the voices of Alice and Anne, especially the way Anne talks about her friends as kindred spirits.  And Escobar's silhouette illustrations every few pages are just gorgeous.  I loved the ones from Alice in Wonderland.  

Tilly craves adventure and now that she's on the outs with her best friend, she hasn't found just the right kind of friend yet. Then she meets Oskar, whose mother runs a bakery near her grandparent's store.  More heavenly treats, yum.  Oskar's kind and also up for some adventuring and together they begin to explore the magic of book wandering.  Tilly is first to interact with Alice in Wonderland and Anne from Green Gables who show up one day in her grandparent's bookstore.  Eventually, she is actually drawn into the pages of the story by the characters, attending the Mad Hatters tea party,  and going with Oskar to school with Anne.    

The actual magic behind book wandering is quite intriguing, filled with all sorts of rules on how to safely wander amongst the pages.  There's a part of me that wished this would've come much earlier in the story, but I certainly can see that the mystery surrounding Tilly's mother's disappearance was important to develop too.  Tilly and Oskar aren't fully trained when they start wandering into books and therefore put themselves at great risk for being trapped inside the story, they even draw the attention of creepy Mr. Enoch Chalk, a reference librarian from the Underlibrary.  I like that the story isn't neat and tidy, Tilly and Oskar can't just jump into and out of a story.  Having some real risks kept things interesting.   There are plenty of dangers and even Tilly and Oskar recognize that it would be foolish to adventure into Jurrasic Park.

Overall, this was an adorable story for people who love books about books.  It's a cozy story and a wonderful introduction to the next book... 

Pages & Co.: The Lost Fairy Tales by Anna James

1 comment:

I'm Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I am one of those people who love books-about-books. I've heard a little about this series, and I was curious about it. I'm glad you shared your thoughts.