By Author / Illustrator
Alexandra Page, Penny Neville-Lee
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Classic-feeling storytelling with bags of charm. Fans of thrilling animal adventure and enchanting underground worlds will fall in love with Wishyouwas.
It's 1952 in smog-shrouded London. Christmas might be fast approaching, but with her mum away and Uncle Frank busy running the post office, Penny Black is lonelier than ever. All that changes when Penny discovers a small, fluffy, funny, springy and - most importantly - talking creature in the post office one night, trying to make off with a letter. But Wishyouwas is no thief. He's a Sorter, and he soon introduces Penny to a fascinating secret world hidden in the tunnels underneath the city's streets. Self-appointed guardians of lost mail, the Sorters have dedicated their lives to rescuing letters that have gone astray and making sure they get delivered to their rightful owners. Penny is determined to protect the Sorters, but how long will she be able to keep them safe with Stanley Scrawl, the sinister Royal Mail Rat Catcher, on the prowl? Can Penny save the Sorters and deliver a joyful Christmas?
There are few books you pick up and you feel the words rather than just read them and when this happens, you know you are reading something special: Wishyouwas is going to be a classic.
Wishyouwas is set in smog-filled London in 1952, it is just before Christmas and Penny is staying with her Uncle at his Post Office. Uncle Frank seems cold and unused to having children around although Penny tries her best to make herself useful, not always in the most useful of ways! Penny misses her mum dreadfully, she is stuck abroad and unable to return thanks to the smog and London seems cold and unwelcoming.
It is when she is feeling her loneliest and most isolated that Penny finds a friend in the most unlikely of places. One night, whilst writing a letter to her mother, Penny spots a mysterious creature who appears to be stealing the mail. At first glance, Penny assumes the creature is a rat and the problem is almost remedied when the creature gets caught in a trap, which is when Penny discovers the animal is most certainly not a rat, he tells her so himself!
Penny has stumbled across a very secretive breed, one hiding under the streets of London and incredibly mistrusting of humans: Sorters. They are bound by their vows to protect the mail and reunite lost letters with their true recipients. Only the Sorters aren't as secret as they thought they were, other humans know of their existence and the Sorters are in danger. Penny must race against time to save the Sorters and show them that not all humans are bad!
This book is filled with charm, a real sense of friendship and full of heart. I was utterly enchanted by the Sorters and I would love to have a friend as loyal and as undeniably cute as Wishyouwas. This is going to be so popular in school, there is a brilliant blend of adventure, betrayal and underneath it all, a thread of recognising what is truly important in life.
288 pages / Reviewed by Nicola Mansfield Niemi, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 7+
Wishyouwas is a heartwarming, feel-good story set to be a future classic. This is a classic good versus evil story with a fantastic set of characters.
Set at Christmas in 1952, the story starts with the protagonist, Penny, believing she spotted a rat. However, rats most certainly do not talk, let alone engage in conversation. Penny soon discovers that this small, fluffy creature is a Sorter called Wishyouwas. Penny is shown the home and secrets of the Sorters by her new friend Wishyouwas.
Wishyouwas is a beautifully written story with a great pace. The characters are imaginative with fun, quirky names (all named after things from letters/parcels, for example, 'Withlove' and 'Fragile'). This book would make a good read-aloud for ages 7+. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down! With themes of friendship, kindness, good versus evil and family.
288 pages / Reviewed by Megan Webb, teacher
Suggested Reading Age 7+