Pog by Pádraig Kenny
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+.