The Midnight Guardians-Ross Montgomery
Published by Walker Books-Out Now
I read this book about three weeks ago and I honestly can’t stop thinking about it! It has everything; it made me laugh out loud, immersed me in a fantasy world of giants & fairies, and I cried my heart out at the end. I say it all the time but it takes incredible skill as an author to be able to have a reader respond in that way. Ross Montgomery absolutely nails it!
It’s set in WW2, traditionally something we teach in Upper Key Stage 2 & I’m always on the lookout for a text to use alongside this topic, but it’s not your typical war story because combined within it, is a magical tale.
Col had some imaginary friends ‘The Guardians’ as a young child, and he thinks he’s outgrown them. He’s been evacuated to the country to live with his aunt & he misses his older sister dreadfully. One cold night near Christmas, he realises that the Guardians: Pendlebury, a six foot tiger; Mr Noakes, a kindly badger sporting a waistcoat and the King of Rogues, a miniature knight are very much alive! More importantly, they bring a message about his sister: she’s in danger.
Col & his guardians begin a race against time to get to London and to defeat the Midwinter King, a much darker force than perhaps even the Nazis, who is hellbent on catching up with them. At the start of their journey they meet Ruth who, much to Col’s surprise, can also see the Guardians. She’s been evacuated too but she’s desperately unhappy and wants to join them on their journey to London for her own reasons!
Within the book there are little factual news bulletins which link to the story & help contextualise parts of the war for the reader-this is seamless & cleverly done.
The book is packed with a variety of themes are about friendship, love, family, belief & hope and it is sublime! I can’t wait to use this as a class read.
It does remind me a little bit of the Lion, Witch & the Wardrobe which isn’t a negative thing, I think this is less hard going than that, and (puts on tin hat and ducks below the parapet) more enjoyable?! 🤷🏽♀️ You decide!
Some books come along which you know will be a classics that children will continue to read for many generations, The Midnight Guardians is one of them! 5⭐️