The Voyage of the Sparrowhawk – Natasha Farrant

Published by Faber and Faber

Two runaway children, two slightly chaotic dogs and a canal boat named ‘Sparrowhawk’ are the cast of this engaging tale that takes place in the aftermath of WW1. Ben and Lottie set sail for France to find Ben’s brother, reported missing from a hospital somewhere in Northern France. They are helped along the way by various adults, all of whom are suffering from some sort of war-caused loss. Lyrical descriptions of idyllic British countryside illustrating the boat’s journey along the waterways to the Thames and beyond, are counterbalanced by the devastation the children witness when they arrive in the ruined villages of rural France. This is a warm, humorous book despite the themes of sadness and grief. By the end, the children have come to terms with the prospect of new beginnings and the reader is left wanting to remain with them. A deserving winner of the 2020 Costa Children’s Book Award!