Ewa Jozefkowicz, The Mystery of the Colour Thief, Head of Zeus Ltd., May 2018, 143 pp. $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781788546492
Izzy’s knows her nightmares are more than that. The shadowy colour thief that comes at night is conjured from the depths of her mind, but she can’t remember who he is. During the day, Izzy faces the reality that her mother remains in a coma after a car accident and that her best friend Lou is no longer any type of friend. The guilt of the accident, and the fading of colours from her bedroom mural, causes Izzy to flounder until she meets her new neighbour, Toby. Toby is being home schooled until his mother takes on a permanent job, and spends a lot of time studying the wildlife in the creek. His determination to save a runty cygnet infects Izzy, and she finds she has a new project to focus on and a staunch ally in the wheelchair-bound Toby. Together they work on the mystery of the colour thief, and Izzy finds the courage to visit her mum in hospital in the knowledge that the accident wasn’t Izzy’s fault at all.
This story is a heart-tugging glimpse into the agony of a girl blaming herself for her mother’s demise. The gradual fading of colour from her mother’s mural is a poignant metaphor for the darkness threatening to engulf Izzy. Even with the unbridled friendship from Toby and her new school mate Frank, there is still a feeling that grief will follow Izzy for a long time. Toby’s strength is in his perseverance, and it is this determination that helps Izzy confront her colour thief and begin the process of uncovering the truth. A thoughtful, warm read.
Reviewed by Pam Harvey