Thursday 8 December 2016

The Song From Somewhere Else by A.F. Harrold and illustrated by Levi Pinfold

After tea Frank cycled over to the rec. 
"Come straight back,' her dad had said.
In her bag she had a sheaf of posters. They wereA4 bits of paper her mum had photocopied at work with a picture of Quintilius Minimus in the middle and the words MISSING CAT at the top. 

Pages - 240
Published in November by Bloomsbury Children's Books

Frank doesn't know how to feel when Nick Underbridge rescues her from bullies one afternoon. No one likes Nick. He's big, he's weird and he smells – or so everyone in Frank's class thinks.
And yet, there's something nice about Nick's house. There's strange music playing there, and it feels light and good and makes Frank feel happy for the first time in forever.
But there's more to Nick, and to his house, than meets the eye, and soon Frank realises she isn't the only one keeping secrets. Or the only one who needs help.
This book has a strong nostalgic feel to it. I think the swing ball might have something to do with it. Swing ball is one of those presents I always wanted but never received. I must have asked for it for about five years in a row. 
*sighs deeply*
 But it isn't just the swing ball, this book literally grabbed my hand and had me running back to the endlessly long summers of childhood, where as long as I had my bike I was happy. Where I could do what I wanted all day long, until my mum called me in for tea. Oh how I miss those days. 

This book has a timeless feel to it. I thought it might be set in the 80's, but then Frank uses the computer, so it's set in recently.  
I love how the genre changes in this book. It starts off contemporary and gently slides into a fairy tale. It's like a mythical Primeval. This book is written so beautifully and so realistically, it leaves you questioning your belief that other magical worlds don't exist side by side with this one. 

The scenes between Nick and his mum, are poignant. You feel that sense of longing from both of them. It really pulls on your heart strings, as the unheard musical notes swirl out from the page and swirl around you. I know this will sound stupid, but I've never enjoyed music that I can't hear before, and yet A.F. Harrold's descriptions made it so easy to imagine the music. 

Bullying plays a huge part of the story. Frank is repeatedly bullied by the boys in the year above. At times it was extremely difficult to read. But Frank learns to face her fears. This story is about standing up to bullies. It's about believing in yourself no matter what. It also looks at friendship, showing that should never let others dictate who you should be friends with. Only you will ever know, who makes the best friend.
You can't discuss this book without mentioning the unusually vintage style illustrations in sepia tones. These really enhance the quietness and the sadness within the story. 
A beautiful timeless tale of friendship and hope that leaves you yearning for your childhood. 

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