The Boy Who Lost His Spark

Maggie O'Farrell, illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini

Jem and his family move to the country and Jem is feeling sad and unhappy at leaving his friends behind. When strange things start happening, he hears the local legend that small creatures called Nouka’s live in the local hill and like to come out at night to cause mischief and mayhem. Jem doesn’t believe in the Nouka but when the strange happenings continue, he begins to wonder if they do exist after all.

A really delightful story for 7-9 years. The story captures the sadness of a child trying to come to terms in a new environment and a Nouka determined to ease his sadness, eventually through a bond of friendship. The story is beautifully told and the full colour illustrations are just gorgeous and really enhance the text. I loved it and it is an ideal book for an adult to read to a child or class or for a child to read alone.

Published by Walker Books 2022

Great for a class read aloud book

Student reviews:

“A boy called Jem was sad and lonely after moving from the city to the countryside. His younger sister, Verity, was told at school about the ancient creatures called the Nouka, who lived in the hill . A creature that loves making mischief.
My favourite moment/part of the book is where Jem apologises to Verity and together with their mother, they climb up the hill to light a bonfire. The neighbours joined in too. I also especially enjoyed the illustrations.
I may be biased, as I am a student myself, but my least favourite part of the book is when the teacher held Jem back to redraw his diagram at school when he told her how the black splats on his book [were made]. I would have made Jem lie in the book, or make up a reason for the splats, if I had written it. Either way, I guess he still would have been held back to re-do his diagram.
Would I recommend this book to a friend…DEFINITELY! I give it 10/10″
Year 7 pupil, Earl Mortimer College, Leominster

Reviewed by Annie Everall