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P draig Kenny

David and Penny’s strange new home is surrounded by forest. It’s the childhood home of their mother, who’s recently died. But other creatures live here…magical creatures, like tiny, hairy Pog.

He’s one of the First Folk, protecting the boundary between the worlds. As the children explore, they discover monsters slipping through from the place Pog calls downways. Meanwhile, David is drawn into the woods by something darker, which insists there’s a way he can bring his mother back…


There’s so much to enjoy in this clever story with its overlay of enchantment. But at its heart, it’s a story of a family struggling to overcome its grief at their mum’s sudden death.

When he moves his family to their ancestral home on the edge of a dark, looming forest, David and Penny’s dad is looking for a fresh start, and some distraction with a renovation project. But the absence of the children’s mum is palpable and each family member retreats into their own world. When David and Penny accidentally discover the mysterious Pog, a diminutive magical creature living in their attic, they’re completely flummoxed. They find themselves questioning their sanity – was the creature a rat, a dream, a figment of their imagination? But they soon discover their survival depends on this special caretaker who’s protected generations of their family (and the world) from the evil lurking close.

This story ticks all the boxes, with mystery in spades. Our young protagonists’ struggles are believable; even the forest and rundown house have their own idiosyncratic personality which adds a wonderful depth. Highly recommended for boys and girls ages 9+.

Athina Clarke is the children’s book buyer at Readings Malvern.

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