Lev Grossman, The Silver Arrow, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 248 pp., September 2020, RRP $14.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781526629418
Kate’s Uncle Herbert is a bad person. At least that’s what Kate thinks, since she’s never actually met him. But when he gives her a life-sized steam train for her birthday, all that changes! Her parents have very little time for her, but here’s Uncle Herbert offering her and her brother Tom a chance to conduct the train for a very special mission: to deliver animals back to their homes, from jungles to glittering islands and even the North Pole. This poignant allegory about the need to protect animals and their habitats, is full of charm but also thrilling twists and turns. The animals explain to Kate and Tom that humans have become so good at surviving, they’ve endangered their lives, but now humans can change to make sure they all survive. This book has the feel of a classic tale but with a very modern dilemma and a gentle plea to act now before it’s too late.
Reviewed by Deborah Abela