My final recommendation of 202o is a wonderfully Christmassy fantasy from Ross Montgomery – The Midnight Guardians.
Sometimes at the darkest hour, hope shines the brightest… When Col’s childhood imaginary friends come to life, he discovers a world where myths and legends are real. Accompanied by his guardians – a six-foot tiger, a badger in a waistcoat and a miniature knight – Col must race to Blitz-bombed London to save his sister. But there are darker forces at work, even than the Nazi bombings. Soon Col is pursued by the terrifying Midwinter King, who is determined to bring an eternal darkness down over everything.
Magic, mythical beings, and so much love all woven together to create a captivating read perfect for escaping into that will live long in the memory and has earned it’s place on the bookshelf in my heart.
Col is so convincing as the young evacuee desperate to be with the only family he truly knows in time for Christmas, while Ruth is a tenderly written Jewish refugee. Their teamwork, tenacity and courage shines throughout the story and I love the way they support each other.
I loved the weaving through of folk lore and childhood friends, making this a fantastical take story set during the Second World War. Darker aspects of the war are not shied away from, but every dark moment is tempered with a glimmer of hope shining in the distance.
But my favourite character? Mrs Evans! Her eccentricity hides the truth and knowledge in her words and actions. I laughed, cried and I really want to wipe my memories so I can do it all over again for the first time. A wonderful story for Year 3 and up.