Pages & Co: The Bookwanderers by Anna James

I know that this is a much-loved series but, for some reason, I was sure it wouldn’t be for me. How wrong I was! This is a delightful middle-grade fantasy and I cannot wait to read the next in the series.


A magical adventure to delight the imagination. A curl-up-on-the-sofa debut from a uniquely talented author.

Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents’ bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories.

One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life.

With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face. from Goodreads


First of all, Tilly living above a bookshop in London is absolutely one of my dreams. Well, the whole dead-Dad and missing-Mother thing is far from ideal but, can you imagine just skipping downstairs to grab a book? Or curling up in the cafe and chatting while sampling the newest baked items? Sigh.

Speaking of missing adults, I was reading a trade magazine that if you are writing for middle grade, the audience (children) do not want adults solving the problems / helping them. I keep wondering if this is true or if we are just pandering to the idea of what adults think kids want. As a child, I never believed that The Boxcar Children would manage more than one night without adults without someone noticing. As an adult, I know that children are often left to fend for themselves in life and I find the idea far from romantic or inspirational.

Therefore, I am always on the look-out for stories that encourage kids to identify and foster relationships with trusted adults. Bookwanderers would fall into this category. Tilly has her Grandparents, who manage that perfect mix of supervision and supportive freedom, and a roster of other lovely adults who are there to help guide her. Does she still manage an adventure? Of course she does!

The premise of the story – that you can go into books and characters that are important to you can visit you – is ingenious. This is one of those ideas that gets your wheels spinning. Which book would you visit? Which character do you think would visit you? I can envision book lovers of all levels having many conversations about how their book wandering would look.

So, with the combination of a great premise and fantastic characters I didn’t think the plot would be much to discuss but it absolutely is. I don’t want to spoil anything but I gasp – out loud – twice! The hype around this book / series has not led my astray. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next in the series, Lost Fairy Tales.

Tell me, please! Which character would visit you?


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