By Author / Illustrator
Anna James, illus Marco Guadalupi
The fifth and penultimate book in the bestselling bookwandering series for readers aged eight to twelve. As Tilly and Milo hurtle towards their final showdown with the Alchemist, the stakes are higher than ever - though there is always time for hot chocolate!
Milo Bolt is ready to be the hero of his own story. With Uncle Horatio trapped in an enchanted sleep by the power-hungry Alchemist, he sets off with his new friend Alessia to find a cure and save them all. Their journey leads them to the magical treehouse - home of the Botanist, the Alchemist's sworn enemy. Against the clock, they hunt for the cure: foraging in the Secret Garden, challenging Robin Hood and confronting the mighty Jabberwock. But the Alchemist will stop at nothing to unlock the powerful secrets of The Book of Books, and Tilly, Pages & Co. and the whole world of imagination are under threat as a battle for the fate of bookwandering is set in motion . . . Find out more from author Anna James
Also available: Tilly and the Book Wanderers (Pages & Co., Book 1); Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales (Pages & Co., Book 2); Tilly and the Map of Stories (Pages & Co, Book 3); The Book Smugglers (Pages & Co, Book 4).
Milo, the new driver of The Quip (the magical train that can go through Story) and Alessia, the daughter of the evil Alchemist, travel to find the Botanist, who could be the only person who can now help them in their quest to stop the Alchemist from gaining to control over Story. There, Milo meets his grandmother and both children are enchanted by the home of the Botanist - The Treehouse Library. From there they travel into The Secret Garden, Robin Hood and the Jabberwock, searching for ingredients to help wake Milo's uncle Horatio, as he could be the only person who can help them defeat the Alchemist before it is too late. But they are literally running out of time and in their desperate search, they are often thwarted by the Alchemist as he moves in to stop them.
I was eager to read this as the last story in the series, The Book Smugglers, stopped on a real cliff hanger. Sadly, for this poor reader, so does this book and now I have a much longer wait to see what happens next. The best stories always leave you wanting more, and this is no exception! I love the idea of being a Bookwanderer and leaving a bit of my imagination in each book I read. Anna James has also picked some of my favourite stories to wander into. Marco Guadalupi once again illustrates the stories in a lively style and the front cover under the dust jacket is really rather splendid.
This is a wonderfully imaginative series, full of originality and magic. I am going to be forced to wait to read what happens next, but it seems very fitting as stopping at the exciting part is something I do when reading aloud to children!
416 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+
With his Uncle Horatio still trapped in a poisoned sleep, Milo steals away with his new friend, Alessia, to find the cure. They need to find the Botanist and discover her magical treehouse - and Milo's grandmother. The children work with the Botanist to find the ingredients for the cure, foraging in the Secret Garden, challenging Robin Hood and facing the fearsome Jabberwock. But the Alchemist will stop at nothing to defeat them…
As with the other Pages & Co stories, The Treehouse Library is a book which loves books! Once again, the story centres more around Milo and Aleissa as they leave Milo's uncle at Pages and Co and sneak away to find the Botanist. Milo is a very appealing character. Often weighed down by guilt and feeling everything is his fault, he is a sensitive, thoughtful boy who gains confidence and courage through his friendship.
The language in this story is as rich and varied as the others, exposing the reader to new vocabulary and encouraging them to use it. As in the previous adventures, the children visit well known stories - perfect for igniting interest in reading them for those who haven't and the joy of revisiting for those who have. The Owl and the Pussycat make an appearance along with Friar Tuck, Robin Hood and the inhabitants of Nottingham and the Jabberwock.
Through the voice of Rosa, the Botanist, Anna James adds words of caution about the content of 'The Secret Garden', explaining that "it was written over a hundred years ago, when many people had very different ideas and understandings about people different from them, some of which we now know to be wrong." There is also 'Anna's Bookshelf' at the end which explains why all the stories wandered through are 'old' books and offers a list of up-to-date titles children might like to try. With only one more adventure for Tilly and her friends to come, I look forward to the next story with equal measures of excitement and sadness!
416 pages / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 9+