The New Policeman (Costa Children's Book Award ) by Kate Thompson

Summary: Grades 7-10 Heart-pounding Irish music is the common ground between material and magical worlds in this ambitious fantasy, which begins in western Ireland. When J. J. Liddy is 15, his mother jokingly asks for a birthday present of more time. From an eccentric neighbor, J. J. learns to his astonishment that his mother's request may not be impossible to fill. Bravely venturing into an alternate fairy world, J. J. takes on a thrilling, epic quest in which he confronts dark family rumors and tries to repair a cosmic time leak between his world and "the land of eternal youth." Thompson packs her mesmerizing, chaotic novel with Irish culture (including phrases defined in a glossary), interconnected mysteries, and sly questions about the stresses of contemporary life and the age-old frictions between religion and folklore. Readers will quickly overlook any creaky plot connections and fall eagerly into the rich, comic language and the captivating characters and scenes, particularly those that feature musicians (including talented J. J.), who play the "wild, anarchic music" that bridges worlds. Musical scores for Irish tunes (some written by Thompson) close each chapter in this soulful, wildly imagined tale that has already won several British awards, including the Guardian Children's Book Prize and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. Suggest it to fans of O. R. Melling's The Hunter's Moon (2005) and Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books. Gillian Engberg Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

'Brilliant timing,' she said. 'Tea's just made.'

But J.J. walked straight past the pot, which steamed on the range in the kitchen, and the plates of fresh scones on the table. Upstairs in his room, his schoolbag lay open on his bed, leaking overdue homework. He glanced at the clock. If he got up half an hour early the next morning he could get a bit of it done.

He spilled the bag and its contents onto the floor, and as he set the alarm he wondered, as he wondered every day, where on earth all the time went.

Classroom Implications: This 2007 release is a great pick for a fantasy book club in 7th or 8th grades. The language is beautiful and students can unpack the genre, studying theme, symbolism and descriptive language.


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