I don’t mind telling you how scared I was when reading Linda Newbery’s new book The Brockenspectre. I do have a special fear of snowy ‘adventures’ where people slide about on snow-covered mountains. And this is a very wintry story, with scope for sliding to your death. Or not.
It is good. Very, very good. But scary. At least for me.
This is the tale about Tomas, who lives with his family somewhere in the Alps in a small village, away from it all. He and his toddler sister Johanna have a lovely mother and a charming, mountain-loving father, Pappi. Tomas admires Pappi above everything, and Pappi teaches him about what to do and not to do when in the mountains.
And then one day Pappi walks out and doesn’t return. In the end Tomas can’t stand it, so goes after him, despite being scared of the Brockenspectre; an unknown, but scary, creature who lives in those mountains. He goes alone, in the cold and the snow. He knows he shouldn’t really. Especially the alone bit.
It is magical and realistic at the same time. I can’t tell you what happens; whether he finds his Pappi, or if things generally go well or badly. It’s nail-biting stuff, but also charming in a nicely old-fashioned way.
Beautiful illustrations by Pam Smy, without whom this book wouldn’t be the same.