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Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers (edition 2020)
by Anna James (Author)
The Bookwanderers by Anna James
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11-year old Matilda (Tilly) Pages lives with her grandparents at their book shop, Pages & Co. Her mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances when she was a baby and all she knows about her father is that he died. Tilly begins seeing two girls in the bookshop: red-headed Anne and Alice, who happen to be Anne (of Green Gables) and Alice (from Wonderland.) They are able to take her into their stories and bring her back. I especially liked Anna James' clever mechanism of transportation. Eventually, Tilly is taken to the British Library's Underlibrary, where she learns that bookwandering is a magical family tradition with strict rules, administered by the staff, including assistant librarian, Enoch Chalk, whom she has seen in the bookshop arguing with her grandfather and in the books she has visited. Tilly shares her secret with her friend, Oskar, and together they visit Treasure Island and A Little Princess, where Tilly sees someone she thinks is her mother. Enjoyable middle school read for all booklovers, blurring the line between reality and imagination. I would have liked to see more and perhaps different illustrations.
Famous wisdom to live by: Be brave, be curious, be kind.
I would have adored this when I was younger, and I highly recommend it to parents of middle graders.
Super adorable! This middle grade novel will delight bibliophiles of all ages! Matilda lives in a huge bookstore with her grandparents. She doesn't have too many friends, but she always has her nose in a book so she can live vicariously through her favorite book characters. One day while wandering through the aisles of books she encounters Anne of Green Gables. The actual Anne of Green Gables, followed shortly by Alice in Wonderland. What's going on? Is there magic in the bookstore? She tries telling her friend Oskar about it, but he doesn't quite believe her. Her grandparents seem reluctant to talk to her about it as well. Something is afoot in Pages & Co. Bookstore and Matilda is going to get to the bottom of it! Super cute and charming; every bibliophile will eat it up; regardless of their age! I can't wait for the next book in the series!
Eleven-year-old Tilly Pages, who has found comfort in her grandparents' bookshop since her mother's disappearance, now learns that she can bookwander into any stories, and decides to seek her mother.
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)823.92Literature English & Old English literatures English fiction Modern Period 2000-
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Thanks so much to Goodreads friend (artist) Laura for telling me more than once about this book and for all her book suggestions to try to help me get out of my latest reading slump.
This is a really cute and clever story. I did predict almost everything major that would happen as soon as it was possible to even guess, or so I thought, but a bit less than 2/3 the way through the book I did get a (pleasant) shock. Also, I knew the ending was one possibility but this is a series so I wasn’t sure how much would get resolved in this first book until very near to the end of the book. This is a fun read. There is a lot of great humor. I enjoyed some of the creative names too. There are many suspenseful parts and the suspense got more and more intense as the book went on. The world building is good but something felt off. Maybe it was because it felt incomplete. I am assuming that more of it will be developed in the additional books.
I would have loved this book when I was 9 and 10 years old, despite Alice of Wonderland being in it.
I knew most of the stories included but they weren’t my very favorites when I was 8-12. My favorites would have made for a less adventurous adventure, with one exception. I loved A Little Princess and Anne of Green Gables but I’ve never liked Alice in Wonderland and don’t really remember much about Treasure Island.
Charming illustrations! They’re wonderful! I appreciated their inclusion.
I think it would make for a perfect activity to read this book with fourth and fifth graders and then assign them to write stories putting themselves into their favorite book or another book of their choice. I would have loved doing that at that age. It is fun to think about now too.
I appreciate that (except for maybe one word?) that the original British English is in the American edition, but I think the title was changed from Tilly and the Bookwanderers to The Bookwanderers and I have no idea why that choice was made.
I am not sure whether or not I’ll read the rest of the series. This book’s story felt complete in its own way and I felt satisfied when I got to the end of it. Then again, I’d probably enjoy spending more time with these characters. I love Tilly and Oscar. I think it is a good choice that in a book about books to have the character Oscar have dyslexia and show how he often reads audiobooks and that yes they count. I love Amelia and both of Tilly’s grandparents. I like Oscar’s mother too. I appreciate it when older characters in children’s books are written as interesting and fully developed people. There is a scary villain in this story, more frightening than I would have expected in a story for this age group, but I’d have probably taken that more in stride when I was in elementary school than I do now.
Some quotes that I liked:
“Stories enhance our lives; they shouldn’t replace them.”
“Books can change minds and change worlds, open doors and open minds, and plant seeds that can grow into magical or even terrifying things. Stories are things to be loved and respected at the same time; never underestimate the power of them.”
“The books we love when we’re growing up shape us in a special way, Tilly. The characters in the books we read help us decide who we want to be.”
“…because stories last much longer than we do. Our stories are how we will be remembered – so we’ve got to make sure they are worth telling.”
“Friends should bring out the best in you, not be the same as you. I’m sure you’re someone’s perfect fit.”
“Grandad had always told her to write her name in her books, so it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that her mum did the same thing when she was little. “It’s about creating a record of who’s read and loved each book,” he would say.”
“I think a bookshop is like a map of the world. There are infinite paths you can take through it and none of them are right or wrong. Here in a bookshop we give readers landmarks to help them find their way, but every reader has to learn to set their own compass.”
And a quote in the Acknowledgments section:
“To Anne Shirley, Sara Crew, and Alice, and also to Lyra Belacqua, who is sadly still in copyright.” ( )