Friday, August 17, 2018

Charlie and Me: 421 Miles from Home

Cover image for Charlie and Me
Lowery, Mark. Charlie and Me: 421 Miles from Home
28 August 2018, Yellow Jacket Press
ARC provided by publisher

Martin and his younger brother Charlie had such a fantastic time on their family vacation to Cornwall. They hung out with their parents, ate fun food, and saw dolphins frolicking in the sea. Back home in Northern England, things have changed since then, with Mom being depressed and Dad being distant, so Martin decides to take Charlie back to the coast. Armed with a stolen tin of Christmas cookies, his back pack, and just enough money for a ticket, the two board a train and start their adventure. They run into a lot of snags, some which deal with the health issues both boys face. Charlie has always had heart problems due to his premature birth, and Martin has debilitating migraines as well as panic attacks. After eluding train security, they are befriended by Henrietta (Hen), an older girl who is very helpful when the boys are separated. She gets her boyfriend to drive Martin to the next train stop to meet up with Charlie, but some secrets are revealed and Hen ends up completing the journey to see the dolphins with Martin.
Strengths: Ah, taking the train in England. My daughter and I decided that if we had to spend eternity anywhere, we would spend it on the London to Liverpool Virgin train in the fancy section we were accidentally upgraded to when we where there in 2016! There are a lot of good details about how Martin and Charlie are able to travel, and the description of the sea side is also wonderful. Hen is a good Samaritan, and the back story (which I am trying hard not to spoil!) is emotional and effective. This has some of the same vibes as Mosier's Train I Ride.
Weaknesses: For an adventure tale, this is a little slow and sad.
What I really think: British tales have taken a downtown in popularity in my library, so I am debating purchase. If I can't afford it, I'll just dust off Ibbotson's One Dog and His Boy for my students.

1 comment:

  1. This looks really good. And, yes, traveling around England by train sounds like a great thing to put on the bucket list.