Publication Date: 1 July 2020
When Charlie’s longed-for brother is born with a serious heart condition, Charlie’s world is turned upside down. Upset and afraid, Charlie flees the hospital and makes for the ancient forest on the edge of town. There Charlie finds a boy floating face-down in the stream, injured, but alive. But when Charlie sets off back to the hospital to fetch help, it seems the forest has changed. It’s become a place as strange and wild as the boy dressed in deerskins. For Charlie has unwittingly fled into the Stone Age, with no way to help the boy or return to the present day. Or is there … ?
Cover illustration by Ben Mantle
An emotional adventure about courage, inner strength, hope and facing the harder parts of life together.
Mandel Forest was evocative of childhood days of summers past: the games, adventures and laughter shared with friends and the myriad of places to hide with your tears and fears. And there’s a map!
The timeslip felt effortless as we passed back to the Stone Age to meet Arby, an older brother desperate to make safe his baby sister, Mothga. Their tentative steps towards helping each other was the perfect pitch of fear, tension and trust seen in fledgling friendships born out of necessity.
The plot moves at pace, while never ignoring the emotions driving Charlie and Arby, with just the right amount of scares for younger readers looking for a longer novel to get stuck into.
I laughed. I cried. I loved it. A stunning debut.
A perfect class read for Lower Key Stage 2 and above, and great for fans of:
- Boot: Small Robot, Big Adventure by Shane Hegarty
- The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell
- There May Be A Castle by Piers Torday
- The 1000 Year Old Boy by Ross Welford
Huge thanks to ReadingZone and Bloomsbury for sending me a copy for review. Do make sure you check out the other fabulous books reviewed on ReadingZone.