Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Peter David
For ages 14 and up
Unabridged audiobook (CD)
Performed/read by: Simon Vance
Blackstone Audiobooks, Inc., 2008   ISBN: 1433253488

Paul Dear has a splendid life. For one thing he has a father who tells him the most wonderful stories. He tells Paul about magic, distant lands, pixies, and (of course) he also has many tales to tell about “The Boy,” the child who refuses to grow up and who flies to a magical land that lies beyond the “second star to the right.” Paul's mother is always there with her love, and she tempers her husband’s stories with common sense. When baby Bonnie arrives on the scene Paul is happy to welcome her into the family, though he is somewhat mystified about how she came to be in their mother’s tummy in the first place.

Then the unthinkable happens. Bonnie dies, Paul’s parents start to argue about her, and then Paul’s father moves out. Paul’s mother becomes an unhappy distant woman who is nothing like the mother Paul has always known and loved. Paul tries to be the man of the house, but unfortunately his efforts to be “grown-up” are misinterpreted, and Paul’s relationship with his mother starts to deteriorate – fast. After one particularly unpleasant altercation with his mother, Paul decides that there is only one thing left for him to do. He will have to go to the place where The Boy lives, the Anyplace, to find another baby sister. He already can communicate with pixies and animals, how much harder could such a quest be?

Paul soon finds out that the Anyplace is not a friendly place to visit at all. It is full of problems, and the biggest problem of all is The Boy himself.

This magical and beautifully written novel not only gives readers a fresh look at that wonderful flying boy and his story, but it also explores the sacrifices that one has to make for family, and the meaning of true love and friendship. Paul makes some painful discoveries on his journey, and The Boy fails to learn something remarkable about growing up.

Simon Vance’s spirited narration of this story is a joy to listen to. He perfectly captures The Boy’s the cockiness, and Paul’s innocence.