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The Golden Swift by Lev Grossman. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2022

August 18, 2022 Comments off

This highly imaginative ecological fantasy is the sequel to The Silver Arrow which is also reviewed elsewhere on this blog.

The Silver arrow is a train which can communicate with humans with artificial intelligence and travel all over the world on secret railway lines which even go through the air. The train is controlled by The Great Secret Intercontinental Railway and was given to 10 year old Tom and 12 year old Kate for Kate’s birthday by their uncle Herbert who is a billionaire with ecological interests in endangered animals.

Uncle Herbert has disappeared and a new state of the art train called the Golden Swift has appeared as a rival to the Silver Arrow and controlled by a boy from Kates class called Jake and his friend Wren. They too are saving animals especially the Scottish Lynx which disappeared from Scotland centuries ago. They want to reestablish the ecological balance by returning the lynx to Scotland but is this a wise thing to do?

Lev Grossman uses the return to nature of the Demilitarised Zone between Nth and South Korea and the reintroduction of Wolves to a USA national Park as examples of how humans can return the ecological balance and food chains to the natural world. But is this what the natural world need?

The animals are not impressed by what humans have done to the environment and say every animal knows to run when humans are around. They express the opinion that humans should leave the environment alone and don’t deserve to be part of the natural world.

How is it all going to pan out? One thing for sure is this is not the last we have heard from this series.

Well written, crazy imagination and serious talk of the natural world. It poses the thought that can humans change their attitude and spoiling ways and save the environment and the life that inhabits it. We hope so.

It took me a time to get into this novel but as the plot developed I got more keen until the excellent ending. Read it and see what I mean.

The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman.

July 14, 2020 Comments off

silver arrowThe Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman. Pub. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2020.

September release.

This is superb storytelling for primary and intermediate readers. It is fantasy/adventure with a message for the modern world about endangered animals who are just trying to survive in a World that has lost it’s balance.

Eleven year old Kate and her nine year old brother Tom have never met their uncle Herbert. Their mother never mentions him but she did say that he was very rich and totally irresponsible. It is Kate’s birthday in a few days so she writes to her uncle Herbert and suggests he buy her a birthday present. Very brazen I thought.

On her birthday a flat decked truck pulls up with 102.36 ton steam train on it and it is put on some railway lines in Tom and Kate’s backyard. Uncle Herbert says it is for their enjoyment. Kate’s parents are not amused and use words that should never appear in a children’s book(they don’t in this book).

The children are sent to their bedrooms but in the night the train starts up, the children get on board and the train hurtles off into the night. At the first station a whole lot of animals get on board , they have been waiting ages for the train to come among them is a porcupine, a fishing cat and other endangered animals.

That’s all I am going to tell you you will have to read it to find out but it is thrilling. This is easy to read and would be a great read-a loud. The ending will have you on tenterhooks. The good thing is that Kate and Tom make mistakes, face responsibility and never give up sometimes in dire circumstances.