Spellbound

Horatio Clare: Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot
Illustrated by Jane Matthews
Firefly Press 2015

An only child, Aubrey lives with his parents in a small town somewhere in mainland Britain. From birth he has proved himself outstanding in refusing to live down to expectations, and gets on with doing things which aren’t always beyond his capabilities. Until the day that he becomes convinced that his father has been put under a spell. Followed soon after by realising he can talk to animals.

I can’t emphasise how much I enjoyed this children’s book, focused on a rambunctious boy. (You knew, of course, that rambunctious means someone who is uncontrollably exuberant or boisterous!) The spell Aubrey’s father has fallen under is depression, a state that does indeed often feel like some kind of curse called down by some malevolent being. Often depression is characterised as a black dog, but Aubrey is a boy with little time for clichés — he discovers that his father is preyed on by the Terrible Yoot.

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