This book is a wonderful adventure story about two boys, Tom and Johnny, who go to Lapland with their mother on holiday and get caught up in a race to find her when her dog sled goes off course in the middle of a snow storm. The story entwines with the story of their older, half sister Grainne, who stays behind in their home town of Dublin, waiting to meet the mother who walked out on her when she was just a toddler. The story of Grainne and her mother is told in tiny snatches in between chunks of the adventures of Tom and Johnny. It might seem uneven but it works perfectly, and both stories explore the relationships between a mother and her children and what separation can mean for both parties on different emotional and physical levels. The story is simply and powerfully told, in short, punchy chapters. The characters are well sketched and the economical use of narrative helps to drive the plot forward to its exciting conclusion. I thought this was magnificently written, and although it is very different from Doyle's earlier works for children, The Giggler Treatment and their sequels, this is a gripping adventure story that will be eaten up by children who want to explore what else Doyle can do.
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