There is a strong history of children’s books being about the unseen; in this case of creatures so small and special that most are oblivious to their existence. In the tradition of The Minpins and The Borrowers, a world so close yet so far makes for a fun read.
Kate Wilkinson has taken a well-trodden route and come up with a fresh new tale. Her story centres around Edie who yet to turn 13, stumbles into the world of Flits when a box is left at lost property. Flits are small fairy-like creatures who inhabit the corners of our cities and towns that we neglect to focus on. As a contrast to the vast world the Flits navigate, Edie is sadly experiencing her own ‘world’ shrink since moving to secondary school. This leads to her spending all of her time at her father’s workplace and to the greatest adventure of her life.
Edie is a lovely character and her kindness towards the Flits highlights this. As always is the case, there are those who seek to take advantage of the Flits and their ability to go unnoticed. A story based in the unusual setting of the Lost Property Office for the London Underground is a brilliant idea and I love how the chapters are annotated with stations and the items found on that line. In this story, the setting plays such a vital role that children will be intrigued about the Tube.
Now for the teacher bit. Many schools do geography work around the capital, while many of our pupils have never been to London. It is hard to imagine an underground network of trains that is that important to a place so anything that adds to that knowledge is very helpful. As always, it is great to see a female lead driving the story on and we should never underestimate the value of children seeing girls in this way.
An enjoyable read that teaches us that looking closer can lead to adventures galore.