Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The New Policeman

The New Policeman

Kate Thompson
For ages 12 and up
HarperCollins, 2007   ISBN: 978-0061174278

Fifteen year old J.J. Liddy is reasonably content with his life in his hometown of Kinvara. He plays the fiddle in the ceilis that his parents host, and he tries not to get to bothered about the fact that his parents aren't married. He is not too thrilled when he learns that his great-grandfather was accused of murdering a priest, but he believes his mum when she says that J.J.'s grandfather was no murderer.

Now J.J. has something new on his mind. When he asked his mum wanted she wanted for her birthday she told him that she wanted ""time."" She and many other people in the town feel that there appears to be less and less time available in the day. The days are pinched and rushed. And so J.J. decides that he is going to find some time to give to his mother.

His journey takes him into souterrain, or ancient underground chamber, and out into Tir na N'Og, the land of Eternal Youth. The place is peopled by fairies and ancient gods who love music, have long memories, and who have noticed that their world is changing. Time is somehow leaking from J.J.'s world into theirs and people on both sides of the magical divide are unhappy. In the company of some decidedly peculiar characters J.J. looks for the leak, and in the process he learns all kinds of things about himself, his family, music, and the connection between the fairy folk and his world.

This is the kind of book that can be read again and again because one will continue to find new threads and nuances in the story that are interesting and intriguing. Seamlessly the author weaves her way between events that are taking place in the everyday world and those that are taking place in Tir na N'Og, and she draws from many stories from Irish mythology to make the story richer, more complex, and beautifully balanced.

Readers who know how to play the violin will be especially pleased to find the music for numerous Irish melodies at the end of every chapter, and throughout the book the power of music, both past and present, is explored.