Snatchers by Helen Cresswell (1998)
Another action-packed magic story from Helen Cresswell, quite like Bag of Bones. This time Ellie Horner meets her own guardian angel, a spiky-haired boy with no belly button. I think if you met this character one day and he told you he was your guardian angel you wouldn't be very reassured because this one's lost his wings (and we would have liked to know how).
Now, it seems that when Ellie was a little baby she was very nearly kidnapped by a menacing wolf-woman. Luckily for her, her guardian angel was watching over her and the kidnap attempt was foiled. Ten years later when Ellie meets Plum, the spiky-haired angel, things go wrong and the kidnap attempt is replayed. This time the baby is taken, Ellie becomes invisible in her own home and Plum has to borrow Ellie's bike in order to become airborne.
What happened? Did the wolf-woman succeed in taking the baby because Ellie broke her promise to give her bike to Plum? Or was it because Plum lost his powers along with his wings? If, as Helen Cresswell tells us, it was just that Ellie's name was next on the list for the Boss to call to the Land of Starless Night, why didn't he take her as a ten-year-old? Again, there are quite a lot of questions which you have to ask yourself in this book and nobody tells you the answer so you have to think about it for yourself.
Actually, I loved The Boss in this book. He's really another version of the Snow Queen and the tension slowly mounts as he blindly fumbles with the jigsaw pieces and the clock ticks inexorably on to midnight.
You'll enjoy this book especially if you like to think about stories afterwards and mull over the knotty little problems that they leave behind.
What can I read next?
Helen Cresswell has written many books. Have a look at:
I think you might really enjoy this one by Peter Carey:
Or anything by Diana Wynne-Jones:
Or you could try this one by Robert C O'Brien:
Also, the Bookchooser has found these books with a similar profile:
- Moondial by Helen Cresswell (Score: 93%)
- Lady Daisy by Dick King-Smith (Score: 89%)
- Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce (Score: 86%)
- The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken (Score: 86%)
- Bullies at School by Theresa Breslin (Score: 86%)
Snatchers features in these lists: