When Michael moves into his new house, he’s immediately drawn to the rundown garage (as any 10-year-old boy would be). When he finally dares to go in and explore, what he finds (is it man or beast or some strange combination?) will change everything about the way he looks at the world. Weaving through this plot is Michael’s new friendship with the William Blake-loving Mina and his tiny baby sister, who is clinging precariously to life.
This book reads like poetry half the time. Mina’s way of looking at the world is so fresh and deep, she helps Michael to look beyond his schoolbook learning and really LOOK at the natural world and its possibilities. She has a bit of that superior edge that some homeschoolers have, but Almond carefully crafts her personality in such a way that you respect her and her mother’s teaching and almost yearn for that kind of education. I love the British tone of the writing, the characters’ turns of phrase and the village-y feel of where Michael lives. The plot with the baby sister is so tenderly played out, I think this is a beautiful, beautiful piece of work.
Rated: Mild, for four uses of the term “bloody h—” as well as one other use of the “h” word and 3 uses of the “d” word