Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre: Juvenile fiction
What did you like about the book? David Almond is a great storyteller, weaving a complete retelling of elder Harry’s run from Newcastle to South Shields. Harry connects to a young neighbor Liam, who is anxious to go out to log some necessary training miles for this similar upcoming race. Harry encourages Liam to “Run! There’s a wolf at your tail! Run for your lovely life!” as he recounts how he ran these 13 miles at his very same age, 70 years prior, in thick boots, through his pristine memories and old race memorabilia. Harry fondly recalls the kindness of encouraging strangers on his journey. Harry focuses on encouraging Liam, even if he leaves some unanswered lingering questions about Veronica, life’s meaning and even heaven for the reader to ponder. Harry’s passing is bittersweet, but a realistic lesson on life, that inspires Liam and all readers in their own race, whether running or not.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I found Harry’s dialect difficult at first, but grew to understand it.
To whom would you recommend this book? Children and parents that enjoy running; grandparents that like passing on traditions and heritage to younger children; informal historians that recognize how memories and stories enrich the younger generation.
Who should buy this book? Elementary school librarians
Where would you shelve it ? Juvenile fiction, Books about running/sports
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Diane Neylon, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA
Date of review: March 15, 2017