Ten-year-old Michael has just moved house with his mum, dad and newly born sister. His sister has been born several weeks early and is very poorly with a serious heart condition and the home-visits by Doctor. Death are not helping ease Michael’s worries.
Whilst helping clear up the garden, Michael finds a creature covered in dust and cobwebs in the dilapidated garage. The creature is gravely ill and is in desperate need of help. Taking pity on the creature Michael tries nursing it back to health although the creature has a terrible diet - demanding a diet of Chinese take-away, number 23 and 57, and brown ale to quench its thirst.
Confused and unsure, Michael confides in Mina, a girl in the neighbourhood who he becomes close to. Mina is not like his other friends, she is a girl and she is home-schooled. Her mind is filled with William Blake, art, climbing trees and closely observing the sights and sounds of the world. Laying eyes on Skellig for the first time she knows he is something ‘extraordinary’. The creature is no ordinary being and as they nurse it back to health the most magical of things happen…
Skellig is a beautiful story that sees the strange creature transform from a fragile and broken being to a beautiful and wonderful part angel, part bird creature. The kindness and friendship that Mina and Michael show to the creature bring new life and hope to it. We never actually find out who or what Skellig is, he is a mysterious main character that we never quite fully understand. For me, Skellig is the guardian angel who was there in Michael’s time of need and was there to make sure his sister survived. Once Skellig’s work is done he swiftly disappears and I like to think that he has gone and hidden in another garage or obscure place waiting to be found by somebody else who needs him.
Skellig is magical, mysterious and full of intrigue, and the beautiful story-telling will grab the attention of readers both young and old. The story highlights how hope and strength can be found even in the most difficult of times.
Recommended for 9+.