Lob by Linda Newbery

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Lob by Linda Newbery

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Madeline Wheatley
Reviewed by Madeline Wheatley
Summary: Lucy loves to help her Grandpa in his garden. Grandpa's other helper is the mysterious Lob, who can only be seen by the lucky few. This is a gentle story for young readers in which life cycles and renewal are linked to the ageless magic of the Green Man.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 224 Date: February 2010
Publisher: David Fickling Books
ISBN: 978-0385610810

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Lob is a Green Man – an ancient nature spirit and garden helper. Can you spot him hiding on the front cover of the book? Lucy believes in Lob, though her Mum and Dad tell her it's just Grandpa's story. When Lucy finally manages to catch a fleeting glimpse of Lob, she is entranced and delighted to share Grandpa's secret. But when Grandpa dies and his home is sold Lucy is heartbroken. She wonders if she will ever see Lob again. What follows is a journey through the seasons tracing Lucy's life after Grandpa's death and Lob's search to find a new garden home.

In this book Linda Newbery deals with the difficult subject of the loss of a grandparent with tenderness. There is a real sense of hope for the future in the figure of Lucy, and the tale emphasises how positive memories can feed into that future. This is in no way a sad story.

The changing stages of life are drawn through the figure of Lob, the Green Man. At first he is a shadowy figure, but as the story progresses so Lob becomes more real for the reader. His adventures as he travels from the countryside to the city are often exciting and sometimes comic. Lob is something of a trickster (like Lob-lie-by–the-fire) and very much a free spirit who does exactly as he wants.

The book itself is a handsome production with a rather retro feel. The story is interweaved with detailed illustrations by Pam Smy and at 218 pages it is a good choice for readers moving on from simple texts to something more challenging. It would also work as a chapter read at bedtime. Linda Newbery herself hopes that it will appeal to readers of about seven up to a hundred and seven. I can see what she means as there is something intensely comforting about this book that I'm sure parents will enjoy as well as children. Especially if they are gardeners!

Thank you to the publishers for sending a copy of this beautifully crafted book to the Bookbag.

A couple of further gentle yet adventurous stories for newly confident readers are Daisy Dawson and the Secret Pool by Steve Voake, and Dear Hound by Jill Murphy.

Booklists.jpg Lob by Linda Newbery is in the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2010.

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Buy Lob by Linda Newbery at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lob by Linda Newbery at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Lob by Linda Newbery at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lob by Linda Newbery at Amazon.com.


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