AT THE FIREFLY GATE by Linda Newbery

AT THE FIREFLY GATE

Age Range: 10 - 14

KIRKUS REVIEW

Carnegie-nominee Newbery successfully interjects a supernatural storyline into a well-crafted, contemporary narrative about a pre-teen boy’s adjustment to a new household. After moving with his parents from London to a rural English village, small, 11-year-old Henry not only worries about making new friends, but he is concerned about the nocturnal appearances of a mysterious, cigarette-smoking man at his garden gate. In a consistently subtle manner, Newbery parses out clues about the identity of the spectral stranger—a WWII airman—and the man’s relationship with Henry’s kind-hearted, elderly neighbor, Dottie. The sensitive Henry seems to make friends at his new school a bit too easily, yet his strained relationship with Dottie’s moody, sometimes mean-spirited teenaged niece is convincing. While it may be too slow for some modern sensibilities, this beautifully written, atmospheric novel is cut from the same character-centered cloth as such classic British ghost stories as Phillipa Pearce’s Tom’s Midnight Garden and Lucy Boston’s Children of Green Knowe books. In addition, readers will get an engaging glimpse of 20th-century English military history. A worthwhile addition to any collection. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: March 13th, 2007
ISBN: 0-385-75113-3
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: David Fickling/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2007




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