Touches of humor, pithy words of Northern common sense, and moments of heightened tension and mystery provide grounding elements in the midst of the reverie…A haunting tale of embracing transformation and finding beauty in an imperfect world.
Through economic prose expressing Davie’s memories and keen observations, the book subtly shows the protagonist’s grief over losing his father and childhood innocence. Spanning only one day, it evokes the mysteriousness of life, the power of imagination, and moments when childhood and adulthood intertwine.
Almond manages to craft deeply real stories touched by magic that itself feels true, being so well rooted in character and emotion—in this case, Davie’s grief. Thematic and lyrical, colored by Newcastle slang and the English countryside, this is one for the deep thinkers and those who are dealing with grief.
In this piece of masterful storytelling, a small town offers its own brand of solace to a young teen struggling with loss. Recommended.
—School Library Journal
Almond’s narrative is almost poetic in his descriptions of animals, sky, sun, and landscape, making it well worth the extra effort of trying to decipher the dialect. This poetic language would fit in well in an English classroom by having students study figurative language and the literary devices used to create it.
—School Library Connection
Taking place in a single day, this story works particularly well because of the authenticity of the setting; the dreamlike quality of the prose; and the specificity of one particular off-kilter, grieving, curious, sweet boy.
—The Horn Book