PAGES & CO.: THE BOOKWANDERERS (Sept. 24, 2019) and PAGES & CO.: THE LOST FAIRY TALES (May 5, 2020) and PAGES & CO.: THE MAP OF STORIES, by Anna James and Paola Escobar, Philomel Books, Sept. 22, 2020, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)
If you are on the lookout for a new middle-grade series, look no further than Pages & Co. written by Anna James and illustrated by Paola Escobar. The series, which was first published in the UK, follows two friends as they physically wander through the pages of books.
The series consists of the three books outlined (synopses provided by the publisher) below:
Since her mother’s disappearance, 11-year-old Tilly Pages has found comfort in the stories at Pages & Co., her grandparents’ bookshop. But when her favorite characters, Anne of Green Gables and Alice from Wonderland, start showing up at the shop, Tilly’s adventures become very real. Not only can she follow Anne and Alice into their books, she discovers she can bookwander into any story she chooses. Tilly’s new ability leads her to fun and exciting adventures, but danger may be lurking on the very next page…
When new secrets are uncovered, it’s up to Tilly to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago.
On a wintry visit to Paris, Tilly and her best friend, Oskar, wander inside a book of fairy tales to find that peculiar things are happening: characters are getting lost, stories are all mixed up, and mysterious plot holes are opening without warning . . .
It’s up to Tilly and Oskar to figure out what–or who–is behind the chaos. And after the friends come face-to-face with an old foe, they realize that villains can exist outside the pages of books . . . and that sometimes, you don’t get to live happily ever after.
Tilly and Oskar embark on an impromptu trip to the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, in search of an elusive group of bookwanderers called the Archivists, who they believe are the key to restoring the balance and saving the British Underlibrary.
Along the way, the friends realize that something strange is happening in the world of bookwandering: books are disappearing, people are forgetting their favorite stories, and stories are trying to drag Tilly into them.
With a mysterious set of clues and some surprising new faces, Tilly and Oskar will need the help of some of their dearest fictional friends to be able to solve the mystery . . . and save bookwandering forever.
There are so many reasons to love Pages & Co. — the characters, the settings, the books… The entire series is an homage to reading, and as such, is a booklover’s dream.
The true brilliance behind the series, though, is that author Anna James has written it in such a way that even kids who wouldn’t put reading at the top of their “fun list” will enjoy it. By choosing books and characters that are part of mainstream media (Alice in Wonderland, Anne of Green Gables, A little Princess, Treasure Island, etc.) readers are immediately given a starting point. Then, it doesn’t matter when other, more obscure or harder works are introduced because you’re already hooked.
Tilly is the kinds of main character you want to root for — smart, inquisitive, independent. But it’s Oskar who stole my heart. Oskar is Tilly’s Samwise Gamgee (Lord of the Rings). He’s loyal and brave (though he doesn’t always feel it), and he’s always there when Tilly needs him. The books need him, too. The pair’s adventures are better because of their friendship.
Pages & Co. is a great option for this upcoming gift-giving season. I wouldn’t hesitate to gift these to bookworms or fans of fantasy and adventure.
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